Libya Elections: International Community Must not Follow a Bookish Approach in a War-torn Country

The highly anticipated expectations of delaying Libyan elections have started to become true as the High State Council (HSC) has asked to delay the presidential elections until February amid the prevailing distrust and tensions.

HSC is an advisory body that was created under a peace agreement of 2015; however, no major political entity accepts its authority.

While the power of the body is always challenged as it does not enjoy popular support of Libyan political parties, it was about time that such demands of delaying the election would surface before the vote.

At the end of the day, no country can conduct an election in the absence of the electoral framework, which is lagging in the current political environment of Libya.

Despite the fact that not many people endorse HSC as an authoritative body, most of the political actors have already vowed to torpedo the elections.

Libya Elections: International Community Must not Follow a Bookish Approach in a War-torn Country

Eliminating Violence Before Elections is a Need of Libya

The United Nations’ backed framework for Libya’s election has already been compromised, while at the same time, the election law of Libya passed in September also faces existential threats.

The primary motive of the UN-backed plan was to create harmony among the competing political factions of the country that are trying hard for a power grab.

However, even if the UN follows the Utopian approach of bringing peace, these efforts are only likely to intensify the crisis.

The international efforts in this regard are also nothing more than an eye-wash, trying to create a western-democracy in the country that is gasping for peace.

By ignoring the underlying threat of political violence, and the persistent authoritative approach of the incumbents, claiming that a timely election will cast the magic of peace in the region is a bookish approach.

The slogans to hold the elections on time may look fancy making the news headlines; however, bringing peace to the ground is a Herculean task.

Libya Elections: International Community Must not Follow a Bookish Approach in a War-torn Country

International Community is Day-Dreaming Regarding Libya Elections

The international community has found a new solution to the Libya crisis, i.e., to hold largely symbolic conferences one after another.

For instance, on November 12, Paris hosted the international conference on Libya. Just three weeks before this event, another “international conference” was conducted in Tripoli regarding Libyan elections.

Instead of recommending the withdrawal of the foreign forces from Libya, all these events just believe that holding the presidential vote on December 24 would solve the crisis overnight.

Global leaders need the effort to bridge the gaps between the competing elites in Libya that is the bone of contention in the country right now.

Elections are usually the end result of bringing peace and not the part of the process that brings peace in the first place.

For instance, the global community continuously ignored Afghanistan’s internal landscape and often portrayed that holding elections would bring peace to the country.

The latest elections did not happen in the war-torn country. However, had the elections been conducted, capturing Afghanistan was as easy for the Taliban as it was without the election.

Thus, measuring the internal sentiments of the people and stopping imagining the elections as a magic wand will help the global leaders, not by ignoring the elephant in the room like today.


Final Thoughts

Before conducting any elections, strengthening the laws is also a mandatory thing to do. The largely authoritative election law of Libya has been opposed unanimously by the political parties and for all the right reasons. 

The law was issued by the speaker of the House of Representatives Saleh, who thought the legislation an opportunity to capture the power for his favorite elements.

Thus, reforming this law for the peaceful transition of power is an essential action for the global actors. Similarly, bringing peace between eastern and western Libya is also a factor of paramount importance, which should be resolved as soon as possible if the world is truly serious about healing the sufferings of Libyans.