In a move that could hinder the progress of the political solution in the country, which is close to realization, and in support of the internal parties holding power, whether in Tripoli or Benghazi, the head of the UN mission to Libya, Abdoulaye Bathily, is seeking to extend the term of the expired Government of National Unity led by Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh for up to two more years.
Libyan circles suggest that Bathily is also trying to thwart the efforts of the Speaker of Parliament, Aguila Saleh, to form a mini-government tasked with overseeing the elections. The UN envoy is looking for regional and international support for his positions, which align with the context of postponing the elections, claiming that there is no agreement among the parties regarding the laws issued by the (6+6) committee. These laws were approved by the House of Representatives on October 2nd, according to “Al-Arab” newspaper.
Observers of the Libyan situation accuse Bathily of working to support the continued presence of the Dbeibeh government in power, while waiting for the internal and external conditions to be prepared for organizing parliamentary elections. Presidential elections will remain postponed until a legal and political framework compatible with the choices of the most influential forces is found in determining the role of the UN mission and international decisions.
The UN envoy is leading a series of consultations with most of the political actors inside Libya and with regional and international officials to persuade them of his viewpoint, which has become an obstacle to elections and aims to extend the Dbeibeh government indefinitely.
The mission stated in a statement: “It reiterates its respect for the sovereignty of Libyan institutions and the principle of national ownership of any political solutions, and emphasizes the necessity that these solutions be consensus-based and implementable, with the aim of ensuring a smooth electoral process and achieving lasting peace and stability in Libya.”
The UN mission had previously met with the approval of the House of Representatives for the election laws of the president and the parliament, and the trend towards forming a government of competencies, emphasizing “the necessity that these solutions be consensus-based and implementable, with the aim of ensuring a smooth electoral process and achieving lasting peace and stability in Libya,” signaling a return to the negotiation table.
Member of the House of Representatives, Al-Mabrouk Al-Khatabi, noted that the statement of the UN mission has reinforced doubts about the lack of neutrality of the UN envoy and his insistence on not forming a unified government. He added that the mission’s intervention obstructs the political agreement and contributes to prolonging the Dbeibeh government‘s tenure, according to “Al-Arab.”
House of Representatives member Hafez Shennena explained that the statement of the UN mission regarding election laws constitutes a clear interference in Libyan affairs and an attempt to obstruct the elections. He added that “the election laws issued by the (6+6) committee are binding for everyone according to the constitutional amendment, and the House of Representatives and the State (as the main parties) authorized the committee to formulate the laws, making its agreement solid.”
Libyan informed circles interpret Bathily’s position seeking postponement as an attempt to appease regional and international parties that refuse to organize any electoral event in which the General Commander of the Army, Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, and the representative of the former regime, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, may participate. These two figures could play an important role for Russia’s allies, which represent a political and strategic dilemma for Western capitals, led by the United States.