LPDF second round postponed for delegates to assess new voting mechanisms
On 23 November, a new virtual round of the UN-led Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF) began following the conclusion one week earlier of in-person talks in Tunis which were intended to decide on the mechanism for nominating and selecting the members of the new Presidential Council and transitional government. Later that evening, the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) announced that the LPDF would be postponed until 25 November in order to ‘allow participants to study the selection options’ that had been presented during the day’s meeting.
UN Acting Special Envoy Stephanie Williams has outlined 4 mechanisms delegates could use to choose an executive authority. For the selection of Prime Minister (PM), all delegates would nominate a candidate (irrespective of region) to reach a minimum of 15 nominees. From that pool, two rounds of voting would determine the new PM. For the members of the Presidential Council, candidates would be nominated through ‘electoral complexes,’ requiring a minimum of 5 recommendations for each candidate from the same region or 4 for the South, 5 for the East and 7 for the West. Voting would then take place over two rounds within the electoral complexes, with the winners in each of the 3 races becoming the new Presidential Council members.
The LPDF process remains fragile and vulnerable to being undermined, whether through bribery or by alternative processes such as a new House of Representatives (HoR)-designated government or an Egypt-Turkey-Russia summit. It could also be undermined by a lack of legitimacy; hence the UN is looking to push through a result in the shortest time possible to avoid these eventualities. As it drags on, the LPDF is becoming viewed as a de facto government in itself. If the LPDF delegates manage to elect a new PM and PC in the coming days without an uproar, the process could move ahead; given the many potential spoilers and factors that could undermine it, however, this appears unlikely.