By Sami Zaptia.
London, 25 April 2021:
The U.S. Embassy for Libya announced today that its Ambassador Richard Norland spoke with HoR head Ageela Saleh from London on Friday (23 April) to discuss progress on elections and on the 2021 budget.
The Embassy statement said Ambassador Norland welcomed the Saleh’s ‘‘firm commitment to holding national elections on December 24 and his assessment of progress toward a constitutional and legal basis to facilitate the elections. The Speaker also provided an update on negotiations to finalize a budget that can address the nation’s most immediate and pressing needs’’.
The 2021 budget
It will be recalled that Libya’s parliament, headed by Saleh, rejected on 20 April the draft 2021 budget presented by Abd Alhamid Aldabaiba’s government and sent it back with huge amendments.
The HoR had sent numerous observations as well as a 16-page and 31-point report by the Finance Committee detailing their objections to the budget.
The main thrust of the objections is that the government has less than 8 months in office and the budget it presented is too big in view of Libya’s projected revenues and the ability to spend it effectively.
Constitutionally based 24 December 2021 elections
With regards to the elections, there is widespread public perception that none of the so-called ‘‘status quo’’ party or the ‘‘dinosaurs’’, including Aldabaiba, Saleh, the HoR the High State Council the militias etc, want elections on 24 December, let alone constitutionally based ones that would put a fully empowered government in office.
Many Libyans, as well as most of the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF), fear or believe that the status quo party will drag its feet and hide behind ‘‘the lack of time’’ excuse or procedural matters to avoid elections on 24 December – constitutionally based or otherwise.
Norland’s call to Saleh, and its publication, was a gentle public nudge to the status quo/dinosaurs to get a move on as time is ticking.