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Libyan envoy to UN urges for joint committee on constitution

FILE PHOTO: Security forces stand guard outside the Parliament building, in Tobruk, Libya, February 10, 2022 REUTERS/Esam Omran Al-Fetori

Stephanie Williams, the UN’s Libya envoy, said on Friday that she had invited the parliament and the High State Council to nominate six members each for a joint committee on Libya’s constitutional arrangements.

The news: Libya’s political process collapsed in December after a scheduled election was cancelled, with major factions and political bodies advocating competing plans for the future and supporting different regimes.

  • The parliament in Tobruk, eastern Libya, swore in Fathi Bashagha as prime minister on Thursday, but the incumbent in Tripoli, west Libya, Abdulhamid al-Dbeibah, has refused to relinquish power, triggering a fresh conflict or territorial split.
  • The parliament passed its own political agenda in January, which included a referendum on an updated constitution this year, followed by elections the following year.
  • “The solution to Libya’s crisis does not lie in forming rival administrations and perennial transitions,” Williams said, urging sides to maintain security and stability and avoid escalation.

What happened: The parliament, which was elected in 2014, is recognised globally thanks to a 2015 political deal that recognised the High State Council as a legislative chamber made up of former parliament members.

  • Despite appearing to agree with the parliament’s constitutional plans and the installation of Bashagha’s administration at first, the High State Council later rejected both.

Rival factions question the legality of all political structures, including the parliament and the High State Council, as well as Bashagha’s government and the Dbeibah administration, which was installed through a UN-backed procedure a year ago.

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