On Monday, the Commander-in-Chief of the Libyan National Army (LNA), Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, held a meeting with a United States (US) high-level delegation to discuss the political situation in Libya.
The meeting, held at the LNA General Command’s headquarters in Benghazi, included the US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, Barbara Leaf, the US Special Representative for Libya, Ambassador Richard Norland, and the Chargé d’Affairs of the US Embassy in Libya, Leslie Ordman.
During the meeting they discussed political developments in Libya and the importance of supporting the efforts of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) through coordination with the House of Representatives (HoR) and the High Council of State (HCS) to prepare the electoral laws required to pave the way for holding presidential and parliamentary elections before the end of 2023.
The two sides affirmed the importance of a political solution based on, and in support of the efforts of the UN Secretary General’s Special Representative, Abdoulaye Bathily.
On February 27th, Bathily announced an initiative aimed at enabling legislative and presidential elections this year, and will set up a high-level steering panel, he told the UN Security Council earlier this month.
The proposed mechanism will bring together all relevant Libyan stakeholders, including representatives of political institutions, major political figures, tribal leaders, civil society organizations, security actors, women, and youth representatives.
Bathily noted that the initiative will facilitate the adoption of the legal framework and time-bound roadmap to the holding of elections in 2023. The proposed panel will also “provide a platform to advance consensus around related matters, such as election security and the adoption of a Code of Conduct for all candidates,” he added.
Libya is currently facing a political crisis after the Libyan Parliament swore in a new Prime Minister, former Interior Minister, Fathi Bashagha in February 2022. Members of Parliament argued that the incumbent Prime Minister, Abdelhamid Dbaiba’s mandate expired when the elections failed to take place.
Dbaiba has refused to cede power, amid the fallout from a failed attempt to hold national elections in December 2021.
Libya has been locked in a political stalemate since late 2021, when the scheduled elections were canceled because of disputes over the rules and the eastern-based Parliament, withdrew support from the interim government.
Peacemaking efforts since then have focused on getting the Parliament and the HCS to agree on a constitutional basis for elections and voting rules.