Libyan Higher Council of State to consider early elections in case of political deal failure

Abdurrahman Swehli, the head of Libya’s Higher Council of State, said Thursday that the council will next week discuss the possibility of holding early elections within six months if the country’s political agreement fails.

Swehli made the remarks during a meeting with Bettina Muscheidt, EU’s ambassador to Libya, in Tripoli, where the pair discussed the latest political and security developments in Libya.

“The Council will discuss a proposal to hold early elections within six months, overseen by a small caretaker government of technocrats, should the negotiations for amending the UN-sponsored political agreement fail,” the media office of the council said in a statement on Thursday.

Swehli stressed the council’s keenness to ensure the success of negotiations to “amend the political agreement through achieving full consensus and partnership with the House of Representatives, ensuring a political balance that leads to peace and stability,” the statement added.

Muscheidt reiterated EU’s support for the UN-proposed action plan in Libya, stressing that “elections will not solve the crisis without achieving national reconciliation and ending the political division first,” the statement said.

Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in Libya Ghassan Salame proposed in September an action plan for Libya that includes amending the current UN-sponsored political agreement, holding a UN-sponsored national conference for all of Libya’s political factions, adopting a constitution, and finally electing a president and a parliament.

Representatives of the eastern-based parliament and the Tripoli-based Higher Council of State recently held UN-sponsored negotiation meetings in Tunisia.

Swehli also met with the head of the Libyan Higher National Commission of Elections Imad Al-Sayah on Thursday and discussed the commission’s readiness to hold possible early elections within six months.

Al-Sayah recently told Xinhua that his commission will sign an agreement with the United Nations to support the upcoming elections in Libya.

In July, General Khalifa Haftar, commander of the eastern-based army, agreed with the UN-backed Prime Minister Fayez Serraj in Paris to cease fire and hold presidential and legislative elections in 2018.

Following the uprising of 2011 that toppled former Gaddafi’s regime, Libya has been struggling to make a democratic transition amid political division, insecurity and chaos.


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