By Staff Writer
On Wednesday, Libya’s elections commission postponed the presidential poll, which was supposed to be held on Friday, the 24 December. This came after the House of Representatives (HoR) concurred that holding an election would be impossible in the current context.
The roots of the problem lay in the September decision on a framework for the election, which the HoR enacted, and not in concert with the Tripoli-based High State Council (HSC), leading to contestation over the eligibility of candidates, including the HoR’s Agheela Saleh and Renegade General Khalifa Haftar. They resigned their positions temporarily as a means of skirting electoral conditions. This continued into the December candidate vetting process, with Saif al Islam Gadhafi initially being barred from running, but later obtaining a reversal; contestation of the candidature of Haftar was also lodged, especially after courts in Misrata barred him from running.
The electoral commission tentatively put forward 24 January as the new date for elections; however, this was already proposed for the parliamentary poll. Further, it remains doubtable whether the different candidates and actors would agree on new conditions for an election, especially in the country’s current polarized environment. This has been worsened by the roles played by outside powers, especially Russia, Turkey and Egypt, which have their own interests in the conflict and have acted to scupper the UN process. In addition, the militia’s presence in the country threatens to inflame the situation further; militia has already been seen in Tripoli and the South, with Haftar acting to block the country’s oil.
This also raises questions over the legitimacy of the current transitional government, even though its powers will de-facto be extended. Much more will need to be agreed upon before an election, especially one that will bring forth unification, rather than the current and increasing polarisation.