Political crisis: Guterres urges parties to preserve stability in Libya

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By Cecilia Ologunagba

New York, Feb. 11, 2022 UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, has called for stability in Libya after the country’s east-based parliament named a new prime minister and the appointment is generating controversy in the country.

In a statement issued by his spokesperson, Stephane Dujarric, on Friday, Guterres called on “all parties to continue to preserve stability in Libya as a top priority.”

The UN chief is “following closely” the latest political crisis unfolding in Libya, which threatens to return the country to a stand-off position between two rival authorities, following the failure to hold presidential elections in December 2021.

He said he took note of the vote taken on Thursday, by the country’s eastern-based House of Representatives, to designate a new Prime Minister.

According to news reports, parliamentarians voted to put a new interim government in place, over the objections of the internationally recognised Prime Minister, Abdul Hamid Dbeiba, who said he would not step down, calling the decision illegitimate.

The development could reportedly once more see two rival administrations vying for overall authority, with the UN-backed government and institutions based in the capital Tripoli, while a new parliament-backed authority establishes itself under the leadership of former interior minister, Fathi Bashagha.

Oil-rich Libya descended into rival factions and bloody conflict following the overthrow of long-time ruler Muammar Gadaffi, in 2011.

UN-brokered negotiations towards a lasting peace and a new democratic constitution, saw major progress a year ago towards unifying the country through the UN-led, inclusive, Libyan Political Dialogue Forum.

Democratic gains were due to be consolidated through presidential and parliamentary elections, the first stages of which were postponed at the end of last year, without a fresh date being set.

Guterres said he took note also of the adoption of a constitutional amendment by parliamentarians, which “charts a path” for revising the 2017 constitutional draft, on which there has been no consensus.

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.

He reminds all institutions of the primary goal of holding national elections as soon possible in order to ensure that the political will of the 2.8 million Libyan citizens who registered to vote are respected