By Abdullah Alkabir, a Libyan political writer and commentator

In view of the impasse of the political track, following the aborted elections, and hardening of positions of the parties to the conflict, lack of initiatives on the part of UNSMIL and Advisor Stephanie Williams, and inability of the Presidential Council to play its role in taking decisive decisions to rescue the political track, it seems that the current available option to overcome the current situation, and to progress a step forward to  elections track, is the formation of a third government, in which all rival parties participate in the consultation of its formation.

 This does not mean, however, that they be part of the government, since in this case, it will necessarily turn into a quota government, which will not pave the way to conducting elections.

 The third government must be a mini-government to the minimum extent possible, and be formed from personalities not affiliated with the parties to the conflict, or at least its president with two deputies representing all the regions. Perhaps this step, will break the current stalemate, and end the current conflict between the Government of National Unity and the parallel government, but this obviously will not be enough. The constitutional base and election laws remain the most important steps for the elections, and according to Williams' statements after the failure of the last Geneva round between the presidents of the House of Representatives and the High Council of State, the remaining contentious issues could be overcome and an acceptable settlement can be reached. 

The resumption of negotiations on the constitutional base, and the election laws, needs an additional effort from Advisor Williams, with strong pressure from the international parties supporting the elections, because this path is outside the calculations of Aguila Saleh, Speaker of the House of Representatives. This was apparent from his last correspondence with Williams, calling on her to implement Bouznika’s outcomes regarding the sovereign positions. Through this approach, Aqila appears like a bankrupt merchant who returns to his old books, looking for forgotten debts, which he can reclaim in order to restore some of his lost authority, after his failure to overthrow the Dabaiba government, and empower the Bashagha government, as well as the strengthening by Dhabaiba and Haftar of their authority following the recent understandings, Which resulted in changing the board of directors of the National Oil Corporation, and the arrival of Haftar’s forces Chief of Staff,  Al-Nadouri, to Tripoli. 

The rapprochement between Dabaiba and Haftar was expected to continue by making a limited ministerial reshuffle, in which Haftar would obtain some ministries, in exchange for abandoning the Bashagha government altogether, and allowing Dabaiba and his government to move in his areas of influence and control.

 However, the rejection and reserved reactions from the political and military parties supporting the Dabaiba government, prompted the latter to come out in  televised remarks, denying the conclusion of any deal in his bid to continue in power and end the rival government. 

The appearance of Dabaiba himself to explain his decision about assigning a figure close to Haftar to head the NOC, and to deny any deals or concessions to Haftar, with a sharp attack on his opponents, confirms his retreat and his inability to gamble with his allies, who revealed their willingness to abandon him, if the circulating news about granting Haftar what he wants in return for the continuation of his government, proved to be true. 

Return of HoR designated prime minister to Misurata caused some disturbances between his supporters and those of Dabaiba. It almost edged into an armed confrontation. The conflict, however, was contained by the intervention of the city's notables, with a statement clarifying the lines that no party could cross, to spare the city the risk of sliding into an armed conflict. This however, does not mean the end of rivalry, as both sides to the conflict continue to work to achieve their goals. 

Therefore, it seems that there is no way out, except through a new forum under the auspices of the United Nations, and the agreement of the political parties, on a third government that will oversee holding of elections.


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