Commenting on the latest political developments in Libya, the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called for stability, early elections, and critical decisions to be taken in a transparent manner. The Secretary General was speaking through his official Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric in New York yesterday.
‘‘The Secretary-General is following closely the situation in Libya. He takes note of the vote taken on Thursday, 10 February, by the House of Representatives in consultation with the High State Council to adopt the constitutional amendment, which charts a path for the revision of the 2017 Constitutional Draft and for the electoral process. He also takes note of the vote of the House of Representatives to designate a new Prime Minister.
The Secretary-General calls on all parties and institutions to continue to ensure that such critical decisions are taken in a transparent and consensual manner.
The Secretary-General further calls on all parties to continue to preserve stability in Libya as a top priority. He reminds all institutions of the primary goal of holding national elections as soon as possible in order to ensure that the political will of the 2.8 million Libyan citizens who registered to vote are respected.’’, the statement read.
Earlier, media reports had suggested that the UN was still in support of the incumbent Caretaker Prime Minister Abd Alhamid Aldabaiba rather than his newly designated replacement Fathi Bashagha. The UN Secretary General’s statement definitely does not come out in clear support of Aldabaiba. Neither does it support Bashagha.
It is perhaps a resignation by the international community to a fait accompli of an attempt at a Libyan-Libyan solution – a rare case where the arch enemies the House of Representatives (HoR) and High State Council (HSC) have agree on a political process – without foreign input.
But the statement questions the process which led to Bashagha’s selection. It calls for ‘‘critical decisions’’ to be ‘‘taken in a transparent and consensual manner.’’ This alludes to the fact that the HoR, led by Speaker Ageela Saleh, did not conduct a member-by-member vote when approving Bashagha but, at his orchestration, went for a hands up vote which Saleh declared as unanimous. This contravenes the HoR’s internal bylaws.
Watching the chaotic session live on TV, it looked as if some member’s hands were not raised in favour of Bashagha. Saleh was keen to steamroll his and Khalifa Hafter’s ally, Bashagha, through.
Weary of the ‘‘status quo dinosaurs’’’ propensity to cling to power, the Secretary General’s statement also called for elections ‘‘as soon as possible’’. Like most observers, the change of Libyan government is seen as a distraction and a diversion to delay and possibly avoid the loss of seats of power by Khalifa Hafter, Ageela Saleh, the HoR and the HSC – through elections.