NEW YORK, Sept. 25 (Reuters) – The head of the Libyan Presidency Council said on Saturday he would urge candidates in the proposed December election not to participate unless there is consensus on the legal framework of the vote.
Speaking to Reuters in New York, Mohamed al-Menfi said his goal was to ensure that the national presidential and legislative elections go ahead as scheduled on December 24.
However, he added: “Not having a good view of this election, (not having) that kind of consensus, is in itself a risk.”
The elections were mandated as part of a roadmap drawn up last year by a political forum convened by the United Nations to end a decade-long crisis, but disputes over the vote threaten to undo the process. peace. Read more
Libya has been beset by chaos and violence since the 2011 NATO-backed uprising that overthrew Muammar Gaddafi, and it was divided after 2014 between warring Western and Eastern factions.
Besides the establishment of elections, the UN-backed roadmap produced a new transitional administration to succeed rival governments that had emerged in Tripoli and in the east during the civil war.
The roadmap installed a three-man Presidency Council from the three regions of Libya and led by Menfi to act as head of state, as well as a Government of National Unity (GNU) led by Prime Minister Minister Abdulhamid Dbeibah.
All parties in Libya and foreign powers involved in the conflict say elections must take place, but the UN-backed dialogue forum and Libya’s existing institutions have not agreed on a constitutional basis for the vote.
The head of the eastern parliament, the House of Representatives (HoR), said this month that the body had enacted a law for a presidential election. He said he was still working on a separate law for a parliamentary election.
But amid controversy over how the law was passed in the House and over the clauses which the speaker’s critics said were designed to allow him to run without risking his current role, other institutions state rejected it.
“The problem is not about the legality of laws (…) it is a political problem,” Menfi said.
He said the legal basis for the election must be agreed upon by both the HoR and the High Council of State (HSC), an advisory body established in 2015 as part of a UN-backed political agreement. aimed at ending the civil war.
“It is a constitutional way which falls under the main responsibility of the Parliament and the High Council of State”, he declared.
Potential candidates for the election include an array of divisive faction leaders in Libya and questions arise as to whether a vote could be free or fair when armed groups control most of the country.
Menfi said it was essential to ensure before any election that there was an agreement on its legal basis and that all candidates would agree to accept the results.
“If they don’t come to a consensus, then sacrifice yourself – let’s all pull out of this process and step down,” he said.
He said the Presidency Council would only intervene if the other organs – the HoR, the HSC, the UN and its dialogue forum – were unable to find a legal framework.
“Our goal is to make sure that the elections go ahead and we pass the 24th, no matter what,” he said.
Reporting by Ben Kellerman, additional reporting by Mohamed Farag in Cairo, written by Angus McDowall, editing by Timothy Heritage
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