Africa Intelligence: Dbaiba Efforts to Push Back Election Date Not Gone Down Well in Western Capitals – Al Marsad

An article published by Africa Intelligence claims that following the official announcement of Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar and Saif al-Islam Gaddafi’s presidential bid, the interim Prime Minister of the Government of National Unity (GNU), Abdulhamid Dbaiba, has been increasingly showing signs of favouring pushing back the elections, and going against the promises he made to Libyans and the international community at the Paris Conference. Africa Intelligence said these such moves by Dbaiba have “not gone down well in Western capitals.”

Right after returning from the Paris Conference on Libya on 12 November, which was hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, and included the presence of US Vice President Kamala Harris, the Libyan interim Prime Minister Abdulhamid Dbaiba is already showing signs of pressing for the 24 December election deadline to be pushed back.

The Paris Conference on Libya was attended by the following countries and bodies: Algeria, Chad, China, Cyprus, the Democratic Republic of Congo (chair of the African Union), Egypt, Greece, Jordan, Kuwait (Chair of the Ministerial Council of the League of Arab States), Malta, Morocco, the Netherlands, Niger, Qatar, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, Tunisia, Turkey, the Republic of the Congo (Chair of the African Union High-Level Committee on Libya), the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, the African Union, the European Union, the League of Arab States and the Executive Secretariat of the Group of Five for the Sahel.

Paris Conference on Libya

The Paris Conference, of which the GNU Prime Minister was one of the hosts, was “designed to deliver a roadmap for the presidential and legislative elections”, and yet Dbaiba was already “networking with the international community informally to convince it of the need to extend his tenure at the head of the transitional government of national unity, can now argue that there is a real risk of violence in the run-up to the elections.”

Dbaiba, his interim Foreign Minister Najla Mangoush, and the chairman of the Presidential Council, Mohamed al-Menfi, both of whom where also present in Paris, had been making consistent efforts behind the scenes in their diplomatic and domestic meetings to have the elections completely postponed but with little success.

Although at the Paris Conference Dbaiba paid lip service to honoring the election date and the verdict of the people, given that the international community was squarely behind the December elections (with the exception of Turkey), he seems to have renewed his efforts once again since being alarmed at the announcement of the candidacies of Saif al-Islam Gaddafi and Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar.

According to Africa Intelligence, the Muslim Brotherhood, led by the Khaled al-Mishri of the State Council along with some militias in Misrata and Tripoli “reacted harshly to the news, considering their bids as a step too far.” The article said these very same political entities “contested the elections from the start, forcing the closure of electoral commission offices”.

It argued that the “issue at the heart of the protest is the legal framework of the elections.” Dbaiba is also demanding that a constitution be adopted before the electoral process kicks off. “This would inevitably lead to the vote being delayed by several months” said Africa Intelligence. Furthermore, he is also “demanding that the electoral law adopted by the House of Representatives in Tobruk on 4 October be amended.”

According to the article, there was an attempt by the international community to save the 24 December elections, with “several international diplomats and candidates met at Tripoli’s Mitiga airport on 17 November.” This gathering was organised by the consulting firm Libya Desk and attended by US Ambassador to Libya Richard Norland, French Ambassador Beatrice Le Fraper du Hellen, British representative Caroline Hurndall, High National Elections Commission (HNEC) Chairman Emad el-Sayeh, Presidential Council deputy chairman Musa al-Koni, and candidates such as the former GNA interior minister Fathi Bashagha and current interior minister Khaled Mazen.

On Thursday, Dbaiba visited the Anti-Corruption Commission to submit his financial disclosure statement. This was a sign of his possible intention to declare his candidacy even though the faces the dual problem of having forfeited his right to contest the Presidential elections in December due to the pledge he made at the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF) when the took the interim position, and the fact that he failed to step down from his position three months prior to the election date.