Libya Tribune

By Amira El-Sharif

In light of the current controversies in Libya because of differences over holding presidential elections this year, the United Nations is committed to unifying the executive authority before the elections.

The UN envoy to Libya, Ghassan Salam, will spare no effort to help Libya to form an effective government to manage the country. He pointed out that the negotiations of the unified drafting committee to amend the political agreement clarified a consensus on the executive authority in Libya.

Ghassan added that although no agreement had been held, this consensus guided the work of the UN in its efforts to revive the political process to reach a settlement of the current crisis in the country.

The UN launched negotiations last year between the house of parliament and the Supreme Council of the State, aimed at amending the political agreement.

Negotiations ended after the parties failed to reach a compromise on the mechanism of electing the executive authority members, the presidential council and the government.

According to media reports, observers believe that holding the elections in 2018 is impossible. The UN plan focuses on uniting the Executive Authority, ending the drafting of the constitution, holding a referendum and holding the elections, considering that a year is not enough to complete the entire plan.

They believe that the momentum of holding elections in the past period was aimed at calming the parties that were waiting for the expiration of the Skhirat agreement on Dec. 17 and persuading them to move closer to the presidential council to avoid using violence.

The army’s general commander, Marshal Khalifa Hafer, threatened to storm the capital Tripoli in case of not held an agreement before Dec. 17.

For his part, the House of Representatives is adamant in choosing the members of the government and the presidential council, which is rejected by the State Council, which demands that its including in the process.

On the other hand, observers expected the situation to remain the same until elections are held to end the division of the state in the country since 2014.

Western officials believe that the United Nations’ commitment to the consolidation of power is a foregone conclusion, to ensure the success of the elections and not to circumvent their results.

Ghassan pointed out that the institutions in Libya are obliged to issue the necessary legislation for the elections, in a manner consistent with the political agreement. He also urged these institutions to overcome mutual skepticism and unilateralism and put the interest of the Libyan people above all considerations.

He confirmed that about 600 thousand Libyans have recently registered for the elections, the electoral register exceeding two million voters, adding that thousands of citizens including women and young people register because they want to hear their voices.

Since the overthrow of Gaddafi in 2011, Libya has witnessed a chaos that has spread to terrorist groups throughout the country. This has led to unprecedented internal tensions, which Libya has never experienced before. Daesh has penetrated into most Libyan areas, which led to the escape of most of the population of the areas controlled by Daesh.

Moreover, the country has been divided into different governments and parliaments, each of which wants to tighten its authority without considering the country’s interest.

Three governments emerged, one in Tobruk, followed by the Libyan army led by Marshal Khalifa Hafer, the other two in Tripoli; the National Salvation under the leadership of Khalifa al-Ghuwail, followed by the Muslim Brotherhood, and the last is Government of National Accord, led by Fayez al-Sarraj, which emerged from the Skhirat agreement at the end of 2015 and The United Nations and many Arab and European countries support it.

The disputes have emerged between Marshal Khalifa Hafater and the President of the Government of National Accord, Fayez Al-Sarraj on the leadership of the military institution, as well as the differences in the Skhirat agreement on the reconsideration of many issues, including the composition of the Supreme Council of the state, which was declared by a particular political spectrum in Tripoli in February 2016 and held its first meeting in April 2016 in Tripoli under the chairmanship of Abdurrahman Al-Suhaili.

The agreement stipulated that it should be formed by all members of the former National Congress and that the presidential council of the Libyan government should be formed by reducing its membership.

Observers believe that what Libya is witnessing about holding of the elections in 2018 is simply to inspire the opposed parties to the reconciliation government to solve the Libyan crisis.

They also see that the current situation of division of the disputants and obstruction of the Islamists will inevitably postpone the elections indefinitely.

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