Elections stalled as Libya recovers from violence

North Africa

Elections were due to be held on the 10th December in Libya, but the violence has meant that they may be postponed to a later date.

Factional violence in and around the capital city of Libya, Tripoli, has prevented the progression of the political process in the country. The ceasefire between the combating sides was agreed upon on the 4th September, but it has been violated repeatedly and has also led to a high number of civilian deaths.

Elections were scheduled to be held on the 10th December of this year. The agreement on elections was reached in Paris and France continued to support it. Nevertheless, the unstable situation in and around the capital has led the UN, as well as former colonial power Italy, to express doubt with regards to this deadline.  The UN had recently extended its special mission to Libya (UNSMIL) by another year following the rising instability in the country.

The agreement on elections had brought together 4 high-ranking officials from both the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) and the Tobruk-based House of Representatives (HoR). The officials included the head of the GNA, Fayez al-Sarraj, the head of the HoR, Aguila Saleh Issa, the leader of the Libyan National Army (LNA), Khaifa Haftar (loyal to the HoR), and the head of the High Council of State, Khalid al-Mishri, who has been advising both the GNA and the HoR following UN peace talks in 2015.

The UN envoy to Libya, Ghassan Salamé, has stressed that elections cannot be held until political stability reigns over the country. According to Salamé, this will only be achieved once state institutions are unified, which is currently far from the case as the two main governments in Libya have created their own institutions and are also fighting to uphold their own legitimacy in the territory that they administer.

The recent fighting in and around Tripoli has mainly involved the Seventh Brigade, a militia group based in Tarhouna, militiamen from Misrata, and the Tripoli Revolutionaries’ Brigades as well as the Nawasi Brigade.

Image: Al Ghad