The end of the civil war or a risk of intensification of conflicts? – The Organization for World Peace

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On December 24, Libya is due to hold legislative and presidential elections. The High Council of State (HSC) has now recommended that the elections be postponed until February in order to minimize the risk of an election failure. These elections were scheduled following an agreement with the United Nations (UN), to bring the country back to democratic governance after 10 years of political instability and civil war. Since 2011, the country has been widely divided between the East, which is under the control of the government recognized by the UN, the Government of National Accord (GNA) and the West, under the control of the Libyan National Army ( LNA). Concerns have been expressed about the ability of the elections to achieve this goal of democratic governance. There are concerns about the elections that worsen the current situation, whether the results will be respected, and the issues of controversial candidates and the presence of militias.

Political analyst Samir Bennis said the UN pressure to hold elections is rooted in a commitment on their part to encourage democratic processes. However, Bennis believes the UN is ignoring the political and social conditions in Libya during this appeal. He is among many critics of the election campaign, saying they “will only pave the way for another long period of post-election instability and chaos.” Criticisms like this are backed up by election uncertainty as the final list of candidates has yet to be released and there are now discussions about changing the dates. In addition, the elections led to violence in societies that are much more stable than Libya currently is; this gives reason to be concerned about what an election might lead to.

While the UN is most likely acting with good intentions, the points raised by critics of the election campaign are valid and must be taken into account. As the inability to properly prepare for an election shows, it is reasonable to question whether Libya is ready for this election. After a ceasefire agreement in 2020, there was a small increase in peace levels in the country. It might be more important to focus on securing and keeping the peace before rushing to an election that will threaten it.

The civil war in Libya has left the country in a situation of extreme political instability over the past 10 years. Other countries have intervened frequently in the conflict, sending both arms and troops to assist the GNA or LNA; this was discouraged by the UN because it only increases the violence. More than 200,000 people have been internally displaced by the war and 1.3 million are still in need of humanitarian assistance. More information on this crisis can be found on the OWP Crisis Index page at https://theowp.org/crisis_index/libyan-civil-war/

The situation in Libya could benefit from the postponement of the elections, as suggested by the HSC. Although democratic governance is a desirable end goal, elections do not necessarily lead to a successful transition to democracy. How these events unfold will have implications for the state of peace in Libya; with the potential for an increase in peace as part of a stable transition to democratic rule, or for the current conflict to intensify due to an unsuccessful attempt at democratic reform. As decisions are made around the elections, it will be interesting to see what choices are made and the results that will result.

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