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Election postponed in Libya, uncertainty continues

The election decision taken in 2020, based on the United Nations, could not be implemented in Libya. The political crisis deepened gradually, as the presidential election, which was planned to be held today, was postponed to an unknown date due to legal disputes over the suitability of candidates in the country, where the civil war caused great destruction. While the elections were in a deadlock, the eyes were turned to the House of Representatives for the new election date in the country, which has been divided into two as east and west since Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown and killed in 2011 and dragged into chaos.

Why was the election postponed?

Institutions in Libya could not agree on electoral rules, such as what powers the new head of state and parliament would have, and who could run for election. The leader of the Libyan House of Representatives, Akile Salih, who has nominated for the presidency, presented a proposal for a law that includes holding the presidential and parliamentary elections on different dates in September, but the proposal was rejected.

Who are the most important candidates?

98 candidates had signed up for the presidential race, including candidates seen as unacceptable by many in the country, including by the powerful armed groups. In the middle of the three leading candidates for the elections, there are Khalifa Haftar, the head of the armed forces in the east during the civil war, Seyfulislam Gaddafi, son of the ousted leader Muhammer Gaddafi, and Abdulhamid Dibeybe, the Prime Minister of Libya’s National Unity Government.

Election date indefinite

In the statement made by the Supreme Election Board on Wednesday, it was suggested that the elections be postponed with a one-month deadline and held on January 24, 2022. Al Haydi al-Sagheer, Leader of the Parliamentary Election Committee, sent a letter to the Leader of the House of Representatives, using the words: “According to the technical, title and security reports, we report that it is impossible to hold the elections on December 24, as stipulated by the election law.” But the House of Representatives may request a further date for the elections. “We expected that the elections would not be on December 24, but now it will be a controversial issue to set a new date,” Adel Karmous, member of the House of Representatives, told the media. Negotiations continue amid candidates, political institutions and other forces.

A short delay may not be enough to resolve the issues that have canceled today’s election. The need for more time to resolve the woes is also expected to ignite major debates over whether the impermanent government will remain in mission until new elections are held.

Is a new conflict on the horizon?

While the clashes in the middle of the groups trying to seize power in Libya have continued since 2011, when Gaddafi was overthrown and killed, today’s election was seen as the way out to end the violence in the country. If the peace process in the country breaks down, there is a risk that the eastern powers will again clash with the government forces and form a separatist government. However, experts and analysts following the region do not expect such a situation to happen anytime soon. Experts are concerned that armed groups will be mobilized in the western regions of the country with the interruption of the election process, and local conflicts will be fueled and conflicts will erupt again.

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