Libya needs more than a vote

The international community must ensure a clear and workable election process if Libya is to achieve stability, argue Tim Eaton and Tarek Megerisi

The World Today Published 3 December 2021 4 minute READ

Tarek Megerisi

Senior Policy Fellow, North Africa and Middle East Programme, European Council on Foreign Relations

On December 24, 2021, Libyans are due to vote in elections that seek to provide a unified, legitimate, national government for Libya for the first time since 2014. Yet, a myopic focus on creating a new government obscures the fact that the measure of success should not be that government’s mere existence, but rather what it can achieve.

The government will be elected on a contested basis but there is little clarity over how the roles and responsibilities of key positions in the process will operate. We have seen how this plays out before.

In 2014, a second bout of civil war followed parliamentary elections as rival governments emerged. If this latest poll is to be a success, the ambiguities of the election process must be clarified. In the longer term, means to initiate national reconciliation and address sources of conflict within the economic and security sectors must be established to make any gains sustainable.

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