Libya’s eastern-based parliament voted on Monday that there would be no elections this year and it would choose a new interim prime minister on Thursday.
The parliament was potentially setting up a new factional struggle over control of the government, which has been working on a political roadmap since the collapse in December of a planned election process amid disputes over the vote’s rules and constitutional basis.
The internationally recognised Government of National Unity (GNU), which was installed a year ago through a U.N.-backed peace process, says its mandate was still valid and that it has no intention of stepping aside.
It was not yet clear whether that meant Libya was moving towards a new division between rival warring administrations or to another phase of negotiations as the political and military elite reconfigures their alliances to maintain power.
However, disputes over the validity of the government and how and when elections should happen threaten to undermine the fragile peace that has held in Libya since the collapse of an eastern assault on Tripoli in summer 2020.
Under the roadmap, Libyan political institutions would first amend the constitutional declaration that has served as Libya’s de facto interim constitution since the 2011 revolution and offer it to referendum.
National elections would then not follow for another 14 months.
This week candidates as prime minister, including the powerful former Interior Minister, Fathi Bashagha, would appear in parliament to seek support from legislators.
The U.N. special adviser on Libya, along with western countries, have since December been urging political institutions to prioritise a new election date rather than setting up another transition period.
Libya has gone through several ostensible transitions during the decade of violent chaos after the 2011 NATO-backed uprising against Muammar Gaddafi.