Politics & Economics

Libya: Rival Factions Agree to Hold Parliamentary and Presidential Elections

North Africa

Libyan leaders gathered in Paris on Tuesday and announced their commitment to elections, which are now scheduled for December later this year

Libya is to hold parliamentary and presidential elections on December 10th after rival factions reached an agreement at an international summit held in Paris, France.

The proposal was signed by Libya’s various leaders and was overseen by a number of international partners. Parties to the agreement include military chief Khalifa Haftar, and Aguila Salla Issa, both representing the Tobruk Parliamentary Assembly, and UN-backed Prime Minister, Fayez al-Sarraj of the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord. Also present was Khaled al-Mishri, the Chairman of the High Council of State, which was formed as part of the Libyan Political Agreement in 2015 to provide advice to the two governments.

The parties confirmed they will set a path towards adopting a constitution and will approve the necessary framework for a national vote by September 16th. This will be lead to presidential and parliamentary elections on December 12th, and crucially all parties agreed to respect the results. Security for the elections will be provided by all sides to both deter potential attacks by Islamist groups, and to encourage turnout.

Alongside this, the different factions will seek to bring their parallel government structures into line and to forge a merger of their armed forces. This aims to reconcile different governments that, at present, do not recognise each other’s legitimacy.

It has been seven years since the 2011 civil war in Libya, led by local groups and backed by regional and European powers, which led to the fall of colonel Muammar Gaddafi. Despite the Regime’s downfall, the North African nation continues to struggle with infighting and factionalism.

Amongst these difficulties, jihadists maintain a presence in parts of the country, particularly in Benghazi and Derna. The new government, legitimised through a democratic vote in December, should provide the unity needed to rid the country of extremists, as well as begin to tackle the domestic concerns of ordinary Libyans such as the need for investment, infrastructure, and jobs.

Image: Reuters