By Abdullah Alkabir, a Libyan political writer and commentator

International moves regarding the Libyan file, and threat to resort to alternative options, if Libyan parties delaying tactics and procrastination continued, posed a challenge that drove these parties and their regional allies to respond seriously, in an attempt to pre-empt the transition of the election file to a new panel to be supervised and led by the UN mission. This response may be an incidental goal, of these international moves led by America and Britain. Thus, the alternative options of the UN envoy, announcing the formation of a' High-Level Steering Panel' for Libya, are just a means of pressure. As it may not find its way to implementation, if the conflicting parties in the House of Representatives and the High Council of State reach a real consensus that leads to free, fair and transparent elections. However, this seems far-fetched so far, as there is no real will or desire to step down with the de facto authorities, and there is no intention of rendering back the trust to the people to elect new leaders to run the country.

The 13th Amendment is what has been achieved so far, but it does not meet the requirements and still needs broader consensus, clear election laws, and a timetable, which are not easy steps and will not be within reach, at least for a timeline no later than the end of next April. Nevertheless, the US Special Envoy and Ambassador to Libya, Richard Norland, welcomed the amendment, indicating the possibility of building on it through the panel to be formed, and at the same time calling on the Libyan parties to deal with the panel positively, and this indicates that the UN option is still the closest to implementation.

Forming a committee that brings together members of the two chambers, with six members from each chamber, is the next step, and it has not been achieved so far by the High Council of State due to the lack of a quorum. Nevertheless, the Head of the HCS is not expected to succumb, as he may resort to selecting six members by collecting recommendations from the rest of the members, and refer them to the House of Representatives. The Speaker of the House of Representatives does not face such difficulty in naming his team, but rejection by active actors of these steps, and the irregularities that occurred at the HCS' session to adopt the 13th Amendment, as well as the appeals filed to the Constitutional Chamber, regarding the legality of the amendment procedures, will drive the international parties to stick to Bathily’s plan.

The magnitude of the international insistence on adopting the UN envoy's plan, and conducting elections at the end of this year, can be seen in the furious statements of some members of the House of Representatives, which amounted to the threat of boycotting the UN mission and not dealing with the latter. However, the statement of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, while receiving the Japanese ambassador, announcing readiness to amend the electoral laws, demonstrated a flexibility which is not usual in the past.

The Head of the High Council of State’s positive response to the 13th Amendment, and insistence on passing it, although the House of Representatives already issued and published the amendment in its Official Gazette, not bothering even to wait for the approval of the HCS. 

All this rush and reactions reflect the enormous pressure from the US and its allies on the Libyan parties in order to conduct the elections, as they are the way to end the division, renew legitimacy, and form an elected authority that enjoys all powers, and also tighten the noose on the Russian presence in Libya. However, all these efforts are liable to be frustrated by some international and regional actors, such as Russia and Egypt. This curbs the excessive optimism about the possibility of holding elections this year. Indeed, the crisis is still open to all possibilities, and the next few days will be decisive in determining the fate of Bathily’s plan.


Disclaimer:  The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect those of the Libya Observer