Panafrican News Agency

Libyan newspapers highlight risk of transferring political conflict to street confrontations

Tripoli, Libya (PANA) - Last Tuesday's vote of no-confidence in the Government of National Unity (GNU) by Parliament has led to an open political conflict between the legislative and executive branches of government, according to newspapers published in Libya last week.

They point out that this is likely to be carried into the streets through demonstrations at a time when the elections scheduled for 24 December are fast approaching.

The media also highlighted a meeting of business ministers of Germany, Italy and France on the sidelines of the 76th UN General Assembly in New York, which echoed the UN's fears of a repeat of the Afghan scenario on Libya's southern borders.

Under the headline: "The struggle of the pillars of power threatens to take the confrontation to the street," the Al-Wassat newspaper wrote that the sudden no-confidence vote by Parliament had increased doubts about the possibility of holding the presidential and parliamentary elections schedule.

Despite the no-confidence vote the country is seeing signs of the beginning of the race for the presidency, the latest of which is Marshal Khalifa Haftar, leader of the Libyan National Army (LNA), stepping down from his post.

He has handed over his military duties to his chief of staff, Abderrazek Al-Nadhouri, for a period of three months, which will be until the elections.

This appears to be in compliance with a law passed unilaterally by Parliament, and handed over to the High Electoral Commission, under which candidates should have stepped down from any official or governmental position three months preceding the vote. If the candidate loses the election, he/she returns to the previous job and receives his/her emoluments.

These clearly signal Haftar's decision to run for president. This is in addition to his repeated appearances in civilian clothes, participating in sports and popular activities lately, the newspaper said.

During a ceremony at the 166th infantry brigade of the General Command, Haftar called on army personnel to participate in the elections, Al-Wassat newspaper recalled.

The newspaper also reported that in the footsteps of the Haftar, information has circulated about the intention of the Speaker of Parliament, Aguila Saleh, to take leave until the date of the elections. This is understood to be a temporary suspension of the exercise of his functions for a period of 3 months following the example of Haftar.

Assuming that this information is accurate, it demonstrates that internal criticism of the electoral law, including by the High Council of State, which responded with a parallel law, and its call to postpone the presidential race and settle for the parliamentary ballot, have been turned on their head.

In the meantime, it does not seem that Abdelhamid Al-Dbaiba is showing signs of an easy surrender in the face of no-confidence vote, the newspaper said.

This is especially as he has insisted on carrying out the task entrusted to him of preparing the conditions for the elections and the unification of state institutions politically and militarily, which foreshadows the transfer of the confrontation between the executive and legislature to the street.

This could be illustrated by the demonstrations in Tripoli, Zaouia and Misrata last Friday, rejecting the decision of Parliament, while more demonstrations expected from next Friday.

The newspaper said the most frightening is the return of discussions on the division of state institutions between the east and west.

This could lead to the emergence of a parallel government in the east, which Saleh had previously hinted at, the paper reported.

Addressing demonstrators on Friday evening in Martyrs' Square in Tripoli to denounce the no-confidence vote, the Prime Minister stressed that the massive turnout was a message that Libya was one and indivisible.

In view of all these developments, the situation remains hazy and confused in Libya, which is only 90 days away from the vote, the newspaper concluded.

Turning to the ministerial conference on Libya held in New York, Afrigatenews reported that participants stressed the need for the international community to continue to support the political process.

They should do this by encouraging the preparation and implementation, in accordance with the roadmap agreed by the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum, of free, fair and inclusive parliamentary and presidential elections.

In this context, the paper said, it is necessary for all relevant actors, both national and international, to cooperate in order to find common and sustainable political and institutional solutions.

The electronic newspaper said that the meeting stressed the need to implement all the terms of the ceasefire agreement reached on 23 October last year, including the immediate departure of all foreign combat forces and mercenaries from the country, in order to achieve unified security conditions.

-0- PANA BY/IS/BBA/MA 26Sept2021