Libya’s December Elections: The Political Crisis is Unfolding Dangerously
Libya is facing a severe political crisis, as the threat of delayed elections remains persistent in the country.
With less than three months remaining until the elections, the future outlook of the political spectrum remains bleak.
The elections, which are supposed to be held on December 24, can be delayed if the all-powerful interim government decides to stay in power.
However, even if the elections happen on time, they are unlikely to be accepted by all the stakeholders in question.
Pre-Election Violence in Libya Raises Concern in Pro-Democratic Forces
The pre-election violence in Libya remains real as Imad al-Harathi, a top youth leader of the country, was kidnapped by unidentified gunmen because of his calls for a timely election.
This abduction has made the intentions of the anti-Democratic forces evident. These violent elements can sabotage any effort directed to bring democracy to the country.
The democracy in Libya is vital for many persisting global and regional powers. This is the reason why global heavyweights are pressuring the country to hold its elections in time.
Be it France, Italy, or the United States, voices are being raised from many countries depicting the importance of timely elections in Libya.
The prevailing optimism is turning a blind eye to the harsh, on-ground realities. For instance, the current eastern-based parliament of Libya, named the House of Representatives (HoR), is yet to formulate the law for the December elections.
This is a significant concern, as the country is racing against the clock. Observing the autocratic practices, the HoR passed a law to elect a president in December without any vote, which was nullified by the electoral commission of Libya.
The misery of Libya did not end here. The HOR passed a no-confidence measure against the incumbent interim government, alleging the government spent almost $11 billion without a significant outcome in the services sector.
The house speaker has even directed the Prime Minister to stop signing new contracts, a demand which the Prime Minister nixed immediately.
This is leading to a legislative crisis as well, as almost all the stakeholders are working on diverging interests that are not expected to converge anytime soon.
Elections Delayed are Elections Denied: Libya’s Struggle to Find a Stable Political Ruler Continues
Experts believe that the delay in elections is in the best interest of the interim Prime Minister, as he will remain the ruler of the country this way.
He has already started taking popular measures, which can help him in controlling the general public in case civil war happens when elections are delayed.
In his bid to control the youth of the country, he has announced a £5,000 gift for young bachelors who are seeking to marry. Similarly, he recently announced increasing the salaries of teachers, which would made him an apple of the public eye.
The involvement of the military in politics is adding complexity to the equation right now. Khalifa Haftar, the leader of the Libyan National Army, is also running for the Presidency, which could encourage the armed forces to use violent tactics to get him elected.
But the timing of his announcement is important. He decided to run for elections when the US Congress passed legislation against him that called for the president to scrutinize Haftar’s role in war crimes.
If elections happen on time, and he emerges victorious, it will open the door for new conflicts. The US would move forward forcefully to sanction the new regime, strangling the country to the maximum possible extent.
Libyan elections have become a matter of regional security, as any power imbalance in the country can kick-off political and human rights crises.
The UN-backed interim government of Libya is enjoying international acceptance, but would the international community continue backing the regime if the elections do not take place as planned? Only time will tell.