The UN Development Programme has signed an agreement to provide technical and advisory support with Spain for the stalled electoral process in Libya. The agreement was signed in the Spanish Embassy in Tripoli on Wednesday by Marc-André Franche on behalf of UNDP Libya, and the Spanish Ambassador to Libya, Javier García-Larrache.
The head of the Libyan Elections Commission, Imad Al-Sayeh, was present to witness the deal in support of the Promoting Elections for the People of Libya (PEPOL) project. The UNDP project is supervised by the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL).
UNDP Libya signed a similar agreement in December with the German and French governments to support the PEPOL project.
Since March last year, two governments have been fighting over power in the war-torn North African country. One is headed by Fathi Bashagha and was sworn in by the House of Representatives in Tobruk, in the east of Libya. The other is the UN-recognised Government of National Unity headed by Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh, who refuses to hand over power unless it is to a government sworn in by a newly-elected parliament.
To resolve this issue, the UN launched an initiative that led to the formation of a joint committee of the House of Representatives and the High Council of State to agree on a constitutional basis that would lead to elections being held in Libya.
However, the work of the committee has been disrupted by differences over the conditions that candidates must meet to qualify to stand in the presidential election. The High Council of State insists on preventing military personnel and dual nationals from running, while the House of Representatives insists on allowing them. Would-be president General Khalifa Haftar is, of course, an army officer; he also holds dual Libyan and US nationality.