LPDF unable to settle on mechanism for selecting new transitional authority
On 15 December, the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) confirmed that talks had failed to reach an agreement on the process for creating a new Libyan transitional executive authority. Acting Head of UNSMIL Stephanie Williams stated that delegates to the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF) were unable even to agree on the mechanism for selecting candidates. Williams acknowledged that the selection process had been ‘fawdha’ (chaos) but reiterated the UN’s commitment to holding new elections in December 2021. She declared that UNSMIL intends to select an executive committee from the LPDF delegates to help bridge the differences among the delegates.
On 17 December, Williams held a virtual meeting with participants of the LPDF to discuss moving forward with the implementation of the roadmap to elections agreed upon in the LPDF last month. According to a statement from UNSMIL, attendees at the meeting discussed mechanisms of selecting a new executive authority, preparations for elections to be held on time and formation of a legal committee of LPDF participants to work on all necessary conditions to facilitate holding elections next year. According to Williams, of the 75 LPDF delegates, 50 voted on the selection mechanism, while 21 abstained. Two delegates failed to respond at all, one withdrew for personal reasons, and another recently died. The UN-led dialogue process appears to be at its lowest point, and it is unclear how Williams’ departure as Special Envoy/Acting Head of UNSMIL (see above) will affect the process. Challenges to the LPDF have been mounting, but Williams is not in a position to call the dialogues to an end – rather, she must try to produce whatever concrete (albeit small) outcome she can in the time remaining.
Meanwhile, on 17 December, a committee made up of seven members of the Tubruq-based House of Representatives (HoR) met ‘to draw a political roadmap in the event of the failure’ of the LPDF. This roadmap was meant to serve as an alternative to the roadmap produced via the UN-led LPDF. The announcement of its plan to draw up an alternative roadmap reflects yet another attempt by the HoR to avoid being side-lined by the LPDF. Thus far, however, the HoR has not appeared capable of acting as a cohesive body that can present a viable alternative to the UN-led process, and the committee’s efforts are unlikely to gain traction.