Why Does Al-Mnifi want to Postpone the December Elections?

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The Head of the Libyan Presidential Council, Mohamed Al-Mnifi, said he would urge candidates in the December elections, not to take part unless there was consensus on the vote’s legal framework, according to Reuters.

Al-Mnifi told Reuters on Saturday that it was his goal to make sure the national presidential and parliamentary elections went ahead as planned on December 24th.

However, he added that, “not having a proper vision towards this election, this kind of consensus, is by itself a risk”.

“The problem is not about the legality of the laws… it’s a political problem,” said Al-Mnifi.

He said the legal basis for the election must be agreed upon by both the House of Representatives (HoR) and the High State Council (HSC), an advisory body created in 2015 through a United Nations (UN)-backed political agreement aimed at ending the civil war.

“This is a constitutional path which is the main responsibility of parliament and the HCS,” he said.

Al-Mnifi said that before any election it is vital to ensure that there is an agreement on its legal basis and that all candidates would agree to accept the results.

“If they don’t reach consensus, then sacrifice – let’s all withdraw from this process and step down,” he said.

He said the Presidency Council would step in only if the other bodies – the HoR, the HSC, the UN and its dialogue forum – were unable to resolve a legal framework.

“Our goal is to make sure the December elections happen and we hand over on the 24th of December whatever happens,” he said.

The December elections were mandated as part of a roadmap drawn up last year by a political forum convened by the UN to end a decade-long crisis, but disputes over the vote threaten to unravel the peace process.

Libya has been racked by chaos and violence since the 2011 NATO-backed uprising that ousted Moammar Gaddafi, and it was split after 2014 between warring western and eastern factions.

Besides setting the December elections, the UN-backed roadmap produced a new transitional administration to take over from the rival governments that had emerged in Tripoli and the east during the civil war.

The roadmap installed a three-man Presidency Council drawn from Libya’s three regions and headed by Al-Mnifi to act as Head of State, as well as a Government of National Unity (GNU) headed by Prime Minister Abdelhamid Al-Dbaiba.