After the postponement of the Libyan elections, Dabaiba returns to the exercise of his duties and international anticipation is tinged with concern

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The Libyan authorities confirmed, on Wednesday, that the presidential elections that were scheduled to take place on Friday will not take place, while Prime Minister Abdel Hamid Dabaiba announced the return to carrying out his duties, amid international adherence to the necessity of holding elections.

The commission’s proposal coincided with a parliamentary committee declaring the impossibility of holding presidential elections at the present time, due to circumstances related to technical, judicial and security reports.

The Libyan High Electoral Commission has proposed postponing the polling for the first round of the presidential elections to next January 24, but after coordination with the House of Representatives, which said that it must take measures to remove what it called the state of force majeure that prevented it from announcing the final list of candidates.

She pointed out that the electoral appeals stage constituted a dangerous turning point in the process due to the inadequacy of legislation regarding the role of the judiciary in the issue of electoral appeals and disputes.

Until today, the commission has not published the “final lists” of the 98 candidates, and the number has been reduced after the exclusions to 73 candidates, and the election campaign has not been allowed to start, in addition to the high number of complaints before the judiciary and appeals against some candidates.

Message and invitations

Before the Libyan High Elections Commission announced its proposal, Al-Hadi Al-Saghir, head of the parliamentary committee in charge of following up on the electoral process, had sent a letter to the Speaker of the Council, Aqila Saleh, informing him of the impossibility of holding the elections on time.

Al-Saghir called on Aqila Saleh to return to his position as Speaker of the House of Representatives in order to mobilize efforts and develop a road map in line with the new data, given that the mandate of the National Unity Government headed by Abdul Hamid al-Dabaiba ends on December 24.

However, a government source announced on Wednesday that Dabaiba had returned to his duties as prime minister, after he stopped running for the presidential elections, which were postponed.

This source said that Dabaiba began his duties yesterday evening, adding, “The government has the legal right to continue performing its duties due to the postponement of the elections, and Dabaiba’s return to work does not violate the agreement of the Political Dialogue Forum.”

He also pointed out that the life of the government agreed upon in the political dialogue forum is 18 months, and that power must be handed over to a government elected by the people.

Libyan Prime Minister Abdel Hamid Dabaiba at the moment of announcing his candidacy for the presidential elections (Anadolu Agency)

Comments and concerns

Commenting on the postponement, Amanda Kadlec, a former member of the United Nations Group of Experts, considered that the matter is a setback that re-dumps Libya, which has suffered two civil wars since 2011, into the unknown.

And it indicated that without a “future path” there is a risk of “local conflicts that may spread to other parts of the country.”

For his part, French government spokesman Gabriel Attal said that France is still “adhering to the smooth conduct of the electoral process until its end.”

As for Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, he expressed his hope that the political consultation process between the so-called various power centers in Libya would be resumed, and a new date for elections would be set, according to the Italian Nova news agency.

Draghi said that after the postponement of the Libyan elections, which were scheduled to take place two days later, “we must hope that the Libyan political consultation process and dialogue between the various centers of power will be resumed and a new date for the elections will be set.”

The Italian official indicated that Italy and Europe did everything to accompany this process towards democracy in Libya and will continue to do everything, stressing that the failure to hold the elections is due to Libyan institutional complications, including Article 12, which many candidates described as “controversial.”

Mario Draghi holds a press conferenceItalian Prime Minister Mario Draghi expressed his hope that the political consultation process will resume (Reuters)

Concern and clarifications

In the context of Western reactions, the German position appears more cautious, as German Foreign Minister Annalena Birbock expressed her concern about the postponement of the presidential elections in Libya, which were scheduled to take place tomorrow, Friday.

Following a meeting with Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn in Berlin, the Green party politician said Wednesday that a delay had been looming over the past weeks, “but that does not diminish it as a cause for concern.”

Birbock said that there seem to be some legal matters that still need to be clarified, pointing to close cooperation with the United Nations in order to find this clarification quickly and so that elections can be held, “because this is a very important matter not only for the international community but in particular for the Libyans.”

For his part, Asselborn expressed his support for the efforts of the United Nations and the European Union aimed at “helping us reach a democratic solution.”

efforts and support

For his part, the US special envoy to Libya and his country’s ambassador to Tripoli, Richard Norland, said that Libyan leaders must urgently address all legal and political obstacles in preparation for the elections, including finalizing the lists of candidates for the presidential elections.

He also urged the US ambassador to de-escalate the tense security situation in the country, saying that the time is not appropriate to take unilateral measures, or armed proliferation operations that pose the risk of escalation and unintended consequences that harm the security and safety of Libyans, as he put it.

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