Libya Elections: Understanding the Politics Behind the Process


Libya is transitioning to a democratic society and the elections are an important step in this process. It is crucial to understand the politics behind the election process in order to ensure that the transition is successful.

In a bid for democratic representation and the potential for a more equitable society, Libyans for decades have longed for the opportunity to elect their own leaders. As such, the upcoming Libyan elections have been met with mixed reactions from Libyans as well as the international community. With tensions already high, understanding the political forces behind the election process is paramount in securing a successful and peaceful outcome.

Since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, Libya has been gripped by a decade of violence, civil wars, and political unrest. This only increased after the Libyan National Army managed to retake the capital of Tripoli in April of 2019. In the aftermath of this victory, several parties, including the United Nations, sought to end the violence and to eventually organise a “free and fair” election.

The following months saw continuous negotiations between several parties in Libya towards forming a new government and organising a vote. This saw the appointment of Abu Bakr Budran to the position of Prime Minister, and the scheduling of the Libyan election for December 24th.

However, in the days leading up to the election, several controversies began to emerge. The biggest of these was the identification of presidential candidates and the expulsion of foreign mercenaries that had been employed by different groups during the civil war.

These issues were most vocally expressed by the United States ambassador to Libya, Richard Norland, who stated that the US would not recognize any elections process that would cause instability in the region.

It is no secret that the future of Libya is closely intertwined with the outcome of this election and a peaceful outcome is essential.

Therefore, the controversial presidential candidates must be handled delicately in order to avoid furthering bloodshed. This demands cooperation from all corners of Libyan politics towards a potential compromise.

On top of this, the expulsion of mercenaries is an imperative step towards a safe electoral process. As such, it is essential that both the Libyan Government and the UN take a firm stance against foreign interference.

Finally, it should be noted that the road to stability still stretches far. In order for Libyan politics to effectively move forward, ambitious reforms and broad “grassroots.

The US Takes Steps to Support Libyan Peace and Stability

In an effort to ensure the nation of Libya is able to secure its borders, gain sufficient public services, experience inclusive and sustainable economic growth, promote human rights and abide by the rule of law, the United States has taken significant steps towards participating and assisting with the country’s stability and progress toward peace.

Last March 25th, United States President Joe Biden announced that the US would prioritise participation and partnership with Libya. This marked a bold and brave step in terms of US policy in the region, one that signalled commitment from the US and was soon followed by a strategy to prevent potential conflict and encourage the peace process.

In the wake of the announcement, the US has undertaken a series of initiatives to support and assist Libya’s growth and development. Additional US investments are being made to achieve stability in Libya and the US is taking steps to fully support Libya’s steadfastness in pursuit of peace.

This governing body would be expected to guarantee human rights, sustain public services, foster economic growth, and cooperate with the US and other international governments on common priorities.

The US strategy provides Libya with the opportunity to become a strong, self-determined state. It also seeks to ensure that regional actors, such as Turkey and Russia, won’t continue to use the nation as a battleground for power and resource control. The US and the international community are in full agreement that Libya should remain an independent, sovereign nation that is in control of its destiny.

Ultimately, the US investments, initiatives, and strategies are intended to lay a new foundation for Libya, one that is based on tolerance, prosperity, and inclusivity. Increased US participation and assistance will ideally provide the Libyan people with the opportunity to find solutions to their own problems and take steps towards a prosperous future.

The UN launched initiative for elections

The United Nations announced an initiative to promote the holding of presidential and legislative elections in Libya in 2023. Led by the UN Envoy to Libya, Abdoulaye Bathily, the initiative is part of an effort to find a resolution to the ongoing political and civil conflict in the region.

The initiative will involve setting up a high-level steering panel that will facilitate the adoption of a legal framework and timetable for the elections. In doing so, the panel will also aim to promote consensus on critical issues that could hamper the possibility of successful elections, such as election security and the adoption of candidate codes of conduct.

To ensure that those with the greatest stakes in Libya’s future, both politically and socially, are represented in the decision-making process, the initiative will also include a wide range of Libyan stakeholders, including representatives from political institutions, influential political figures, tribal leaders, civil society organisations, security actors, and women and young people.

The UN believes that through this initiative it can bring stability and credibility to Libya’s upcoming elections. This, in turn, would be beneficial in fostering a productive and peaceful resolution to the conflict in the region. The UN’s Envoy to Libya, Abdoulaye Bathily, is hopeful that by providing a framework that raises the standard of free and fair elections, the initiative will bring a fresh start to the region and hope for a prosperous future.

For over a decade, Libya has been a splintered nation, with its citizens divided along ethnic and geographic lines, and foreign intervention further compounding the crisis. In the face of the seemingly unending tribulations, the country faces –particularly divisions between the East and West – the international community has worked to bridge the gap, to no avail.

Libya’s modern political landscape dates back to the ousting of Moammar Gadhafi in 2011, which saw the emergence of two rival governments: a United Nations-backed government in Tripoli and a parallel administration in Sirte, led by Marshal Khalifa Haftar. In the wake of Gadhafi’s organisation, Haftar’s eastern stronghold has become the symbolic battleground between Tripoli and the west coast, where his anti-Islamist factions have sought to gain a foothold in the region.

The struggle for power has left the country without a stable government and without a unified political vision. The UN-sponsored presidential and legislative elections, scheduled for December 2021, were delayed indefinitely as tensions rose between the rival governments and their respective blocs. The postponement served to strain Libya’s already fragile infrastructure and left the nation’s people in the dark.

The international community, which has maintained its support for Libya since the fall of Gadhafi, has taken steps toward stabilising the country.

Abdoulaye Bathily, the UN’s Special Representative for Libya, voiced his support for the elections, emphasising the importance of a unified and transparent election process for Libya’s future. He also gave his backing for a national reconciliation conference, organised by the African Union, which will promote peace and unity between the east and the west.

Unfortunately, the situation in the region remains unresolved and the crisis constantly threatens the welfare of the Libyan people. With external interference from countries such as Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar detracting from the stability of the nation, elected officials and international entities alike must work together to form a common solution.

Ultimately, unity and transparency must be reignited in order to move Libya forward and secure a prosperous future for its citizens.

In conclusion, the Libyan elections are a complex and sensitive process. However, they represent an important step forward for the country. With a better understanding of the politics involved, we can all play a role in supporting a smooth and successful election process.

Ericson Mangoli
Ericson Mangoli is the founder and Managing Editor of Who Owns Africa, a platform for African journalism that focuses on politics, governance, and business. With a passion for truth and a dedication to highlighting pressing issues in Africa, Mangoli has become a significant voice in the field. He embarked on this journey after graduating with a degree in communications and realizing his true calling was in investigative reporting and shedding light on untold stories.  Who Owns Africa provides thought-provoking articles, in-depth analyses, and incisive commentary to help people understand the complexities of the region. Mangoli is committed to impartiality and ethical reporting, setting high standards for his team. His vision for the platform is to foster critical thinking and promote informed discussions that have a positive impact on African society. Mangoli is known for his eloquent and insightful writing which tackles pressing issues in Africa. His articles cover a range of topics including political corruption, economic development, fostering international partnerships, and African governance. He sheds light on the complexities of these subjects and empowers readers to engage in conversations for positive change. Mangoli's coverage of African politics analyzes the factors that drive change and hinder progress, while his reporting on governance advocates for stronger institutions and policies. Additionally, he explores the challenges and opportunities facing African businesses and inspires readers to contribute to Africa's economic growth.


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