Panafrican News Agency

Libyan newspapers highlight concerns about elections, expectations for Paris Conference

Tripoli, Libya (PANA) - Libya's scheduled 24 December elections, which has never been so uncertain, with the continued disagreements between the political parties on the electoral laws, was one of the topics highlighted by the media last week.

The Libyan press also focused the Paris Conference on Libya, scheduled for 12 November, questioning its scope and speculating on the main issues to be discussed at the level of heads of state and government.

Under the headline: "Anxious atmosphere as the countdown to the elections begins," Al-Wassat newspaper reported the dispute in the Government of National Unity (GNU) between Prime Minister Abdelhamid Al-Dbaiba, on the one hand, and the first deputy prime minister, Hussein Al-Qatrani, and the deputy interior minister, Faraj Kaim, on the other hand.

Al-Dbaiba appeared on television last on Tuesday to address the people of the eastern region of Berga (Cyrenaica) in response to accusations made against him by Al-Qatrani on behalf of what he called the "Berga ministers".

The newspaper said this disagreement comes with only eight weeks to the scheduled election, as clashes between armed groups and their security breaches have begun to worry many Libyans.

Al-Wassat newspaper reported that Al-Dbaiba did not hide the extent of the crisis in the government.

However, he was keen to say that what is happening is a "political dispute, not a regional one".

The Prime Minister revealed, according to the newspaper, the number of projects implemented or to be implemented in the eastern region. This is in addition to steps to appoint ambassadors, and educational missions.

He also suggested attempts to blackmail his government by addressing  the Deputy Interior Minister, who joined Al-Qatrani in issuing a statement protesting Al-Dbaiba's performance.

This raises worrying questions about the future of the electoral process in view of the persistent division on the one hand and the security chaos on the other.

This is also in the face of the silence, so far, of the Presidential Council on the clashes in Zaouia, in the west, the newspaper said.

It said that the Council has, on the other hand, retracted its threat to intervene to resolve the controversy on the constitutional basis of the elections by issuing presidential decrees to hold the elections as scheduled.

The newspaper quoted the Deputy Chairman of the Presidential Council, Moussa Al-Kouni, as saying that the Electoral Commission "has adopted what was presented to it by the parliament, and it will start, on the indicated date, to proceed with the elections".

Afrigatenews reported that the French capital, Paris, is set to host an international conference on Libya on 12 November, which is expected to be the highest of its kind in terms of participation.

The French presidency has sent invitations to a number of heads of state and government to attend the conference, including the chairman of the Libyan Presidential Council, Mohamed Al-Manfi, who will be accompanied by Foreign Minister Najla Al-Mangouch, the newspaper said.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said that the conference is aimed to give a final international push to hold the elections by the end of the year and support the departure of foreign forces.

He pointed out: "With our help, Libyans will be able to take advantage today of this historic opportunity to restore peace, sovereignty and prosperity."

Highlighting the topics to be discussed, the newspaper reported that the evacuation of foreign fighters from Libya will be at the forefront of the concerns of the Paris Conference. 

The conference will be overseen by France, Germany, Italy and the United Nations, the newspaper said.

Citing well-informed sources, it said that UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres will be one of the most prominent participants, while US President Joe Biden has nominated vice-president, Kamala Harris to represent Washington, the first time the US is participating in a meeting on Libya through the second personality in the White House.

-0- PANA BY/IS/BBA/MA 31Oct2021