Libyan MP: UN Envoy Offers Nothing New


On Wednesday, a member of the Libyan Parliament, Saleh Afhimah said that “there is no indication that the initiative of the UN Envoy to Libya, Abdoulaye Bathily could pave the way for a solution to the country’s escalating crisis.”

He added that “this means that Bathily does not have a new vision on which the practical foundations for a solution could be built.”

In press statements, the lawmaker stated that “the UN Envoy is still floundering and trying to follow the same steps of his predecessors. So, if Bathily really wants to contribute to ending the Libyan crisis, unlike the previous envoys, he must meet the demands of the Libyan people, who are calling for a referendum on the country’s permanent constitution, and to hold elections at the end of this year.”

He noted that the Parliament “does not have the ability to finalize drafting the electoral laws alone, without involving the High Council of State (HCS) or any other party with a view to reaching a solution based on a political consensus among all Libyan parties.”

The UN proposal appears to be immature and incomplete. It is a reflection of the international community’s desperation, as it struggles over a situation that has now endured for more than 12 years.

Bathily said that “high-level security talks are needed in order to reach an agreement on securing the elections, and ensuring freedom of movement for candidates during electoral campaigning in all regions of Libya.” But this kind of talk is no more than pious hope, and is not backed by the instruments that could make such wishes a reality.

His predecessors, Stephanie Williams, Ghassan Salameh, Jan Kubis, and others were even more critical of political actors in Libya, without being able to create any change, according to a report published by the Arab Weekly newspaper.

Bathily wants to pressure the Parliament and the HCS to agree on the constitutional basics, that are still a stumbling block for elections. However, no one knows to what extent his pressures might serve any purpose.

The members of the General National Congress elected in 2012 continue to be part of the legislative authority, through the HCS. This was enshrined by the Skhirat Agreement in December 2015. The Parliament continues to cling to its self-proclaimed legitimacy even though it was elected in 2014. The Government of National Accord headed by Fayez Al-Sarraj remained in power for no less than five years, although it was tasked to rule for a period not exceeding two.

The Government of National Unity (GNU) headed by Abdel-Hamid Dbaiba trods along the same path, exceeding its December 2021 legal mandate set by the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF).

From experience, those who appear in particular to welcome international initiatives and proposed political solutions, are the very people who work most aggressively to thwart them.

At the centers of power, there is this desire to preserve privileges and spoils reaped since 2011. This is the prevailing mindset in countries of the Arab spring, most notably in Libya.

Despite the predictable focus by Bathily on holding elections this year, there are no indications that the appropriate conditions for such a vote could be met.