Tuesday, 17 June 2014
Libya pushes ahead with plan for parliamentary elections
Somewhat incredibly Libya is still pushing ahead with its plan to hold elections for a new parliament on 25 June. Despite the upheaval and chaos, some Libyans seem to believe that electing a new ruling body at this time will work as a sort of panacea and provide the country with the opportunity for a new start.
Even General Khalifa Haftar, who is battling it out against militants in the east, declared this week that he would halt all fighting for one day on 25 June so that the polls can go ahead.
Yet such optimism may well be misplaced. It is true that electing a new parliament will refresh the political scene. It is also likely to result in the Islamists losing some of their grip on power. This week the campaign poster of a Muslim Brotherhood candidate, Ali Bouzakok, was torn down by angry crowds in Benghazi.
While the Islamists will not disappear from the scene completely, it seems almost certain, given the ongoing hostility towards them, that they will not be able to dominate the parliament in the way they have been able to dominate the Congress.
However, with the country so polarised and with the central authorities still lacking in any real power or authority, it is difficult to see how these elections will really alter the status quo. Furthermore, some of the thornier issues, such as whether or not to elect a new President directly or indirectly, still have to be thrashed out, meaning that the potential for further deadlock is still a reality.
Added to all this the fact that the number of voters who have registered for these elections is still so low; it is difficult to see how this new parliament will have any real legitimacy.
For more news and expert analysis about Libya, please see Libya Focus and Libya Politics & Security.
© 2014 Menas Associates