Friday, May 22, 2015

Libyan: Islamist leader proposes elections to end conflict

Fresh elections are the only way to end conflict in Libya where two governments and parliaments are competing for power and the country's oil wealth, an influential Islamist supporter of a self-declared government in Tripoli said.

Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni's internationally recognised government and elected parliament have operated out of eastern Libya since a rival armed faction called Libya Dawn took over Tripoli in August and set up its own government.

The United Nations has been hosting talks to persuade the rival factions to form a national government, four years after the civil war that ousted Muammar Gaddafi.

But progress has been slow as both sides want their own parliament - the House of Representatives in Tobruk or its predecessor, the General National Congress in the capital, Tripoli - to form any such unity cabinet.

"The Libyan people should elect new personalities to represent them. I think this is a very appropriate solution," said Khalid Sherif, a former deputy defence minister. "This is a national solution," he told Reuters in an interview.

Sherif fought Soviet troops in Afghanistan and sought to overthrow Gaddafi in 1990s before joining Libya's 2011 uprising. He remains an influential figure in the Islamist camp backing the Tripoli government.

He said the mandate of the Tobruk-based assembly would end by law in October, opening the way to a new vote as compromise. Both sides would have to agree on a ceasefire until a vote could take place in October.

"We ask the international community to oversee the elections so there is no forgery," Sherif said. "All sides should oversee the elections in all areas of Libya."

The House of Representatives was elected in June 2014, in a vote marred by a low turnout, for 18 months during which a proposal for a constitution was meant to be put up for vote.

That plan was derailed by the fighting, and a committee is still working on a constitutional proposal.

"There is a wish from all sides for dialogue," said Sherif.

Both side blame each other for the conflict. Thinni says Libya Dawn's attack on Tripoli in July sent Libya into turmoil.

Libya Dawn say it was army general Khalifa Haftar who had started the violence in May 2014 by launching his own war on Islamists in Benghazi.


No comments:

Post a Comment