CAIRO: Libyan delegates failed to agree on a legal framework to hold presidential and parliamentary elections later this year, the UN said on Saturday, putting an agreed-upon roadmap to end the conflict there in jeopardy.
The Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF), a 75-member body from all walks of life in Libya, concluded its five days of talks in a hotel outside Geneva on Friday, the UN support mission in Libya said.
Participants in the UN-brokered talks discussed several proposals for a constitutional basis for the elections, including some that were not consistent with the roadmap that set the vote on Dec. 24. Others sought to establish preconditions to hold elections as planned, the mission said.
The UN mission said the LPDF members have created a committee tasked with bridging the gap among the proposals put before the forum. But the deadlock remained.
“It is regrettable,” said Raisedon Zenenga, the mission’s coordinator. “The people of Libya will certainly feel let down as they still aspire to the opportunity to exercise their democratic rights in presidential and parliamentary elections on December 24.”
The mission urged forum members to continue consultations to agree on “a workable compromise and cement what unites them.” It warned that proposals which “do not make the elections feasible and possible to hold elections on 24 December will not be entertained.”
“This is not the outcome that many of us had hoped for, but it is the better outcome given the options that were on the table,” Elham Saudi, a forum member, wrote on Twitter. “This only delays the battle, but does not resolve the issues.”
Over two dozen LPDF members criticized the UN mission for its proposal that the forum vote on suggestions that included keeping the current government in power, and only holding legislative polls.
Richard Norland, the US special envoy for Libya, accused “several members” of the forum of apparently trying to insert “poison pills” to ensure elections will not happen “either by prolonging the constitutional process or by creating new conditions that must be met for elections to occur.” “We hope the 75 Libyans in the LPDF will re-dedicate themselves to allowing the 7 million Libyans throughout the country to have a voice in shaping Libya’s future,” he said.
Christian Buck, director of Middle East and North Africa at the German Foreign Ministry, urged the LPDF members to stick to the roadmap to elections in December.
“Any postponement would open doors to dangerous scenarios,” he tweeted, without elaborating.
The government, led by Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah, was appointed by the forum in a vote mired in corruption allegations.