German Ambassador Affirms Haftar’s Support for Libya’s Elections

The German Ambassador to Libya, Michael Ohnmacht
The German Ambassador to Libya, Michael Ohnmacht

On Thursday, the German Ambassador to Libya, Michael Ohnmacht, said that elections in Libya can be held before the end of the current year, citing the High National Electoral Commission’s (HNEC) previous statements that it was technically ready.

In press statements, Ohnmacht stated that “it is not just about the possibility of holding the elections whether at the end of 2023 or at the beginning of next year, but most importantly is to ensure that they are successful and transparent, and with acceptable results. I have repeatedly spoken with Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, the General Commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA), in Benghazi, where he affirmed that he wants elections, like all other officials in Libya who showed similar desires.”

The Ambassador pointed out that “it is necessary to learn from the experience of not holding the 24 December elections, and work to create solid and stable grounds for the anticipated polls. The failure to hold the 2021 elections was due to a lack of clear electoral rules regarding the candidacy conditions, which is a mistake that should not be repeated. Electoral laws must be clear and agreed upon by all concerned Libyan parties, and it is necessary for all segments of the Libyan people to have a say in the upcoming elections.”

The German diplomat urged the Libyan Parliament and the High Council of State (HCS) to “assume their responsibilities with regard to paving the way for elections by reaching a consensus over all controversial points.”

In addition, Ohnmacht stressed the importance of creating favourable security and political conditions for elections, urging for a Libyan-led consensus for a unified executive authority across the country.

On Sunday, Haftar held a meeting with the French Ambassador to Libya, Mostafa Mihraje in Benghazi.

The meeting dealt with the current situation in Libya and the latest developments. It was attended by the military attaché at the French Embassy.

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.

Mihraje noted that Paris’ priority was “peace and security in Libya and the wider region. As well as the restoration of full sovereignty for Libyans over their territories.”

Libya has been in chaos since a NATO-backed uprising toppled longtime leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. The county has for years been split between rival administrations, each backed by rogue militias and foreign governments.

The current stalemate grew out of the failure to hold elections in December 2021, and the refusal of Prime Minister Abdel-Hamid Dbaiba, who is leading the transitional government, to step down.