UN LPDF pushes ‘intensive sessions’ to reach consensus
On 6 January, the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) announced that it had convened the second virtual meeting of the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF)’s Advisory Committee. The meeting focused on determining a selection mechanism and nomination procedures for a new transitional government for Libya, including a new Presidential Council (PC). Participants agreed that they would meet in person at the UN headquarters in Geneva on 13-16 January. On 11 January, the Legal Committee of the LPDF gathered for a virtual meeting where their members discussed proposals on the constitutional basis for the national elections scheduled for December 2021. According to a UN statement, the committee agreed to hold,‘intensive’ sessions this week to reach a consensus on the proposals.
The UN-facilitated electoral roadmap is intended to include mechanisms to overcome obstruction, such as the dispute between the House of Representatives (HoR) and High Council of State (HCS) that plagued the transitional process set by the 2015 Skhirat agreement. In addition, the LPDF delegates have been vested by the UN with exceptional powers. For example, if the HoR and HCS fail to appoint new heads of semi-sovereign institutions (as they have been trying unsuccessfully to do since October), it is expected that the delegates will assume responsibility for the appointments if a new PC has been announced and largely accepted.
The UN appears to be pushing hard to fast-track agreement on the elements needed to hold national elections. This represents a shift away from its previous focus on selecting a new interim government. The ‘intensive sessions’ held by the LPDF suggest that other issues and timelines not made public may be affecting the process. The shift in the UN’s focus towards the election process is noteworthy, and may suggest that an alternative approach to establishing a new executive authority will emerge in the coming weeks. However, questions remain regarding the legitimacy and authority of the new Advisory Committee to determine the constitutional basis for the elections outside the HoR and HCS.