Libya’s difficult road to peace received a boost after the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum elected a transition government
Rabat – Representatives of Libya’s opposing factions elected a unified transition government on Friday, February 5. The election marks a significant step towards achieving sustainable peace in Libya through the UN-guided Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF) hosted in Switzerland.
Representatives of the two former warring parties in Libya’s bloody conflict had gathered near Geneva to evaluate candidates and agree on an interim transitional government. The group of 74 Libyan politicians voted for several important positions that aim to create a unified government to usher in a new era of political dialogue in the war-torn country.
UN Envoy Stephanie Williams has witnessed the rapid transition from a seemingly endless conflict to a sudden ceasefire and now the establishment of a unity government. On behalf of the United Nations I am pleased to witness this historic moment,” she declared to roaring applause.
The representatives of Libya’s two opposing factions managed to agree on its new interim government with more than 50 percent of the vote. The gathered officials had cast their votes in the early morning on Friday. They elected Mohammed al-Menfi as the country’s head of the Presidential Council as well as making Abdulhamid Dbeibeh the country’s first unified post-conflict prime minister.
The list of candidates for the interim government’s leadership positions included a variety of Libya’s most prominent politicians, including Aguila Saleh from eastern Libya and Fathi Bashagha from the west. The gathering however chose to elect lesser known leaders, a decision that appears to be accepted by the losing candidates.
By electing leaders with less political baggage, Libya’s representatives appear to be looking for a government that will face as little friction with both sides in the conflict. While Egypt backed the candidacy of Saleh and Bashaga to rule together, the LPDF decided otherwise.
Libya’s new prime minister is not without controversy however, as Abdulhamid Dbeibeh comes from a prominent family that is seen as corrupt by many Libyans. Yet, there are few elites that do not face such suspicions in Libya.
Despite some lingering doubts about the forum’s chosen leaders, the election nonetheless marks another step in the remarkable and unexpected path to peace in Libya. The interim government will now be tasked with organizing the national elections in December.