Massimiliano Boccolini

Basghagha’s only real competitor among those already on the field is the former vice president of the Libyan presidential council, Ahmed Maitiq.

But Khalifa Haftar and Saif al-Islam Gaddafi are also moving behind the scenes, despite the fact that he has not appeared in public for about ten years and it is not known where he actually is.

Despite the obstacles still present on the path leading to the political and presidential elections on December 24, the presidential candidates have already taken the field, giving life to their electoral campaign.

In Libya, military institutions remain divided, just as the coastal road is still closed and foreign mercenary militias are still present in the east as well as west of the country.

Yet despite this, despite the difficulties of politicians in reaching an agreement on the constitutional basis that should pave the way for elections to be held on December 24, 2021, and the failure to agree on the appointment of sovereign offices between parliament and the Council of State, a large group of politicians has already taken the field giving life to their presidential electoral campaign.

The first and most exposed among the politicians who are candidates for the leadership of the country is the interior minister of the former Libyan National Accord Government, Fathi Bashagha.

After the disappointment of the defeat of his list, allied with that of President Aguilah Saleh to lead the unitary government in this transition phase at the Political Dialogue Forum in Tunis, the political exponent considered linked to the Muslim Brotherhood has embarked on a European tour as part of an early election campaign, which took him first to Paris, then to Rome, Brussels, London and Amsterdam and which ended in Berlin.

During his three-day visit to Rome he met with political leaders and held meetings with some think tanks, also giving interviews to the press.

In an interview with the French newspaper “L’Opinion”, Bashagha questioned the intentions of the government of national unity to reach these elections, stating that “the current government does not intend to implement the road map to get out of the crisis”.

He argued that there is no conflict between the President of the Presidential Council, Muhammad al-Menfi and Prime Minister Abdulhamid al-Dabaiba, “even if the latter tries to guarantee his government, although there is popular pressure and support from the community international to implement the road map “.

Bashagha also added that “the institution of a new authority resulting from the elections is the only one capable of imposing the withdrawal of foreign fighters from Libya”.

Basghagha’s only real competitor among those who are on the pitch at this stage is the former vice president of the Libyan presidential council, Ahmed Maitiq.

Considered the one who has the best chance of winning at the moment as he is the only one who, despite being from Misrata, from the west, enjoys strong credit even in the east of the country.

This is proved by the fact that an information site in Benghazi, ” al-Marsad “, considered close to Khalifa Haftar’s forces, often gives news of his political activities aimed at guaranteeing the holding of elections by the scheduled date.

In a recent Facebook post, Maitiq said that the UN Support Mission in Libya is calling for speeding up the installation of the necessary structures for holding the elections within the specified deadlines.

In fact, the fear is that it is precisely the members of parliament and the Council of State who do not want the vote to guarantee their seats, and for this reason the politician from Misrata wrote: “We Libyans ask ourselves where the problem lies today in our country : in its executive or legislative bodies? “.

Another candidate is the head of the “Ihya Libya” bloc, Aref Al-Nayed, known for having been Libyan ambassador to the United Arab Emirates from June 2011 to October 2016 and therefore particularly attached to Abu Dhabi.

They are therefore politicians who do not hide their intention to run for the presidency of Libya after they have remained out of the current government.

Some like Maiteeg made this choice intentionally to be able to stand as a candidate in the elections of December 2021.

On 4 February, in fact, the politician from Misurata withdrew his candidacy during the Political Dialogue Forum in Tunis to allow the day after the victory of the list of al-Dabaiba, aware of the fact that if he had been elected he would not have been able to stand in the elections of 2021,

Due to the failure to reach an agreement on the constitutional basis to be adopted before the elections by the Dialogue Forum, ambiguity dominates the political scene pending next July 1, the date set for the completion of the electoral law, after the sessions of the dialogue.

The latter are at a standstill and cannot agree on the decision to elect the next president of the country directly or indirectly or whether to hold the referendum on the constitution before the date of December 24 or after.

This division in the Libyan scene aroused the concern of the head of the Organization for National Elections, Imad al-Sayeh, who stressed the lack of clarity in the political decision and said: “In the event that the necessary laws are not passed by the beginning of next July, we will change our plan to implement the right to vote due to the insufficient time required to organize the elections ”.

Al-Sayeh, said that the holding of elections in his country depends on the creation of a suitable legal environment and the agreement on the constitutional basis to be found before July.

Despite the uncertainties of the Libyan political class, its commission has completed nearly 90 percent of the preparations of its technical equipment for the upcoming elections, expecting that the number of Libyans eligible to vote by the end of this year will reach 3 million.

The chairman of the committee called to organize the elections in Libya announced to the broadcaster “ Libya al-Ahrar ” that everything will be ready by June 15th.

Although all this depends on the financial contribution of the government, which cannot be made if the Tobruk parliament does not first approve the 2021 state budget. The logistical support section of the Libyan electoral commission has received two shipments of electoral material in recent days.

This is material needed for the voter registration process, ahead of the December 24 appointment. The press office of the Libyan electoral commission informs that preparations are continuing to guarantee the mailing and printing operations and to provide the materials necessary to start the voter registration process. The opening of the register of voters is expected in the coming days.

Despite the ongoing preparations, concern over what other candidates will do, who have not yet manifested their willingness to take the field politically, following the democratic path, but who have long shown their intention to take the lead of the country, hangs over the electoral process .

The first is General Khalifa Haftar who is currently the strong man of Cyrenaica. On May 29, he held a military parade at the Benina air base, presented as the largest in Libya’s history, in order to demonstrate that he is still present in the Libyan political scene.

The other is instead the son of the Libyan colonel, Saif al-Gaddafi, who lately through the Libyan media that support him, such as the satellite broadcaster “Libya al-Ghad” and the numerous Gaddafi social groups, is presented as a candidate for the next presidential elections in Libya despite not appearing in public for about ten years and no one knows where he actually is.


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