Libya’s Crisis Between People’s Legitimacy and UN Version of Democracy – Al Marsad
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Acting Special-Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General (A/SRSG) for Libya and Head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), Stephanie Williams, proceeds with the “Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF)” as she designed it, completely oblivious of all the criticism and objection letters and statements issued by various Libyan parties save for the Muslim Brotherhood—which managed to infiltrate the LPDF team with “spearheads” from among its leaders and allies despite lacking any real popular base that would justify them determining the fate of Libyans.

(Libya, 1 November 2020) – Most objections revolved on a question the UNSMIL refuses to answer, namely: “Who chose most of the 75 participants invited to take part in the LPDF to decide the fate of the Libyans in the next stage and on what criteria? What is the extent of their influence in society, especially since they are fairly unknown, nor do they have any influence, nor any known political, literary, or social participation in public life?”


Many fear a repetition of the “Skhirat Scenario” when the name of Fayez al-Sarraj appeared out of the blue as President of the Presidential Council, without anyone knowing until today who nominated him for this position at a time when the House of Representatives (HoR) had the right—according to Skhirat Agreement itself—to name the president. The HoR voted on 14 names and sent the list to the UNSMIL to choose from among them. However, the UNSMIL did not do that and chose a name not on the list without indicating who nominated him.

It seems that the “Tunisia’s LPDF” the UNSMIL intends to hold next month will not proceed as quietly as planned. Some believe that StephanieWilliams “brought” these people to be mere “extras” or at least “witnesses” to bless the pre-chosen names and pre-decided governing rules of the new government along with the other details in which the devil surely lurks.


In between this and that, voices demanded elections next March (according to the date set by Sarraj), especially since he had withdrawn his resignation (to avert a so-called political vacuum if the LPDF in Tunisia did not reach an agreement, as he put it) while the Muslim Brotherhood adheres to only parliamentary rather than presidential elections as the last solution and option that suits them.

Two Ways to Solve the Legitimacy Crisis | Al-Marsad Infographic

This demand is rejected as usual by the Muslim Brotherhood and its allies to remain as long as possible in their councils and positions in the institutions, which they infiltrated. They justify their rejection with many arguments, including their claim that there is no (constitutional rule), which they interpret as the referendum demand on the constitution. This process requires at least a year and a half (click to view) to complete let alone the risks of cancellation later due to the existence of legal challenges against the draft and even rulings stating that it is not enforceable.


This rejection is offset by what the Muslim Brotherhood insists on rejecting as well, which is the decisions of the February Committee (click here to view) formed by the General National Congress (GNC) in 2014, and its decisions became constitutional with the approval and vote of the then legitimate GNC. These decisions defined the system of government as a republic, and even set the form of parliament, the powers of the head of state, and his term in what looks like an integrated constitution.

Related topics: What are the decisions of the February Committee, according to which legalists and politicians demand elections? Get to know it

The “February decisions” did not detail the mechanism for electing the head of state due to the Muslim Brotherhood’s rejection at the GNC at the time the idea was proposed that the president would be elected by the people. The committee left this task with the approval of the GNC to the next parliament to decide.

The parliament has actually decided that after its election by issuing decree 5/2014, which approved that the president should be elected by the people. Fayez al-Sarraj then participated in the vote when he was a parliamentarian for the Andalus district in Tripoli

Decree 5/2014


The security situation in general in the East, West, and South, is much better today than it was during the 2012 and 2014 elections, when people were casting their votes while the clashes were most intense between the army and terrorist groups in Benghazi. In other words, the security situation today is appropriate, especially with the presence of a ceasefire agreement signed this month in Geneva.


Consequently, there are two ways today to solve the crisis of legitimacy in Libya, the first decisive one is the legitimacy of the people by heading to elections as soon as possible (next March, for example) based on the constitutional amendment made according to the decisions of the February 2014 committee and the HoR’s decree 5/2014 on the direct election of a president by the people. The constitutional rule exists and the way is clear.

As for the second way, it is that of UNSMIL through the dialogue committee with its anonymous members. This committee will be the master of everyone and entrusted with the approval of the government instead of the deputies plus a new presidential council plus a separate government plus the survival of the HoR and the State Council for a term said to not exceed 18 months before heading to the elections. Its slogan and that of its supporters is “consensual democracy and a civil state,” although the term consensus is far from the term democracy, which is embodied only in the ballot box.

However, until now, there is no guarantee that the mandate of the new body will be limited to this period, as the mandate of Skhirat, which the former envoy Bernardino León guaranteed, was one year, extendable for another year only. León and his guarantees have gone, and Skhirat, its bodies, and disasters have entered its fifth year. The experiences remain visible between the term crisis enshrined by the UNSMIL and the fact that it is just a crisis that keeps Libya in the same circle of attrition and subordination to the United Nations and those who manage it without a national sovereign decision owned by a head of state and an elected parliament.

© Al Marsad English (2020)



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