Disclaimer: This note has been prepared by MENA Insights for general information purposes

only, and it is not intended to be, and should not be considered as, legal or other advice.



MENA Perspective
July 2014


Libya after Legislative
Elections: No miracles to be
expected

Amid severe political instability, Libyans went to the polls on June 25, to
elect the 200 members of their interim parliament for the transition phase.
There is little prospect that the mere election of a parliament will solve
Libya’s deep ideological, tribal and regional tensions in the foreseeable
future, however. The announcement of final results could ignite new
political tensions, since some defeated political parties are likely to
refuse to accept the final electoral outcome. The elections are hoped to at
least end controversies that surrounded the legitimacy of General National
Congress. Instability will persist, until reconciliation and dialogue
between the government and the main political and armed groups across the
country have been successfully concluded – likely to be a long-term
progress which will require, over short or long, international mediation.

Libya held parliamentary elections on June 25, in spite of
continuous political volatility and sustained security threats.
Since the ousting of Libyan Prime Minister, Ali Zeidane, in March
2014, Libya entered into a prolonged time of institutional
uncertainty for months. The election of Ahmed Maiteeg as successor
was deemed unconstitutional by Libyan liberal political parties and
their supporters, and led to power rivalry between him and the
caretaker Abdullah al-Thini, who took office temporarily after
Zeidane. This political crisis that lasted for weeks ended with a
judiciary ruling in 9 June 2014 that deemed the election of Maiteeg
illegal. Many of Libyan democrats and members of civil society see
in the vote a crucial step to consolidate the country’s nascent
democratic process. They are hoping that the election of a new
parliament, which will substitute the current General National
Congress (GNC), could appease some of the political tensions and
controversies. The succeeding step will be organizing a presidential
election to manage the country's political transition phase.
Two features of the elections are important to be mentioned. One is
weak turnout to vote compared to the previous elections in 2012.
Only half a million Libyans from the registered voters have
participated. The number of registered voters dropped from 2.4
million to only 1.5 million voters this year. This points to the
growing public frustration and disillusionment of Libyans with the
lack of progress on building a functioning state and the behavior of
political elites over the last two years. Moreover, in an insecure

Disclaimer: This note has been prepared by MENA Insights for general information purposes
only, and it is not intended to be, and should not be considered as, legal or other advice.

environment and with boycott campaigns many Libyans felt less
confident to vote.
Final results will not be announced until 20 July 2014. This is
another example of institutional weakness that Libya is facing
today. Democratic elections remain a novelty for Libyan society,
this further worsened by the fragile security environment.
Symbolic elections
The success of elections remains symbolic and is likely to have
little practical impact to achieve political stability and peace in
Libya. Tensions are likely to continue, as there will be a process
of negotiations and forming alliances among different political
parties in light of elections result. Multiparty competition and
coalition building are unprecedented political features that Libyan
politicians and the general public struggle with. This partly
explains some of the political difficulties that the country has
went through over the last two and half years. Many political
parties lack the technical, political and institutional capacity to
manage the political transition, and contribute to the re-building
of the state’s institutions; while underlying institutions remain
weak, and offer politicians no fall-back expertise or experience
influencing decision-making.
Some of Libya’s political tensions may be overcome if wining parties
form a government in spirit of compromise and inclusiveness. To
achieve this goal, the new government should be as inclusive as
possible in order to reduce conflict of interests and alienation of
different ideological, ethnic and regional groups. A credible sign
of achieving enduring stability will be the launch of a national
reconciliation process that engages major Libyan stakeholders
including political parties, tribes and armed groups. This will
include a revision of populist policies adopted by the previous
post-Qadhafi governments, particularly the political isolation law.
The enactment of the latter lustration law, that seeks to prevent
politicians and civil servants who served under Qadhafi’s regime
from holding public offices, has served nothing but to alienate a
significant number of Libyans and to deepen political rifts.
Military Operation
Insecurity continues to prevail on the ground, with persistent
clashes between a variety of armed groups and the assassination of
security officers and targeting of politicians. The military
operation initiated by renegade general Khalifa Haftar since mid May
2014 is still ongoing with little prospects of defeating extremist
groups and bringing stability in any foreseeable future. Indeed,
General Haftar’s coercive approach alone is seen to further to
worsen the fragile Libyan security and social cohesion in Benghazi
and other Eastern Libyan cities. The absence of good military
planning and a political plan have undermined Haftar’s efforts to
gather support among all Libyans and from international community.
The vulnerability of military option is that it might take longer
than initially planned by Haftar, as his adversaries are well armed
and financed. Even in a scenario of a declared defeat of extremists,
pockets of resistance will persist. Other Libyan regions are not
safe. Tensions and fights are still ongoing among militias in the

Disclaimer: This note has been prepared by MENA Insights for general information purposes
only, and it is not intended to be, and should not be considered as, legal or other advice.

western part of Libya, including in Tripoli. The security situation
is inextricably intertwined with the political process, and they
have to be addresses simultaneously.
The situation in Libya remains a matter of deep concern to its
immediate neighboring countries. After several ministerial meetings
among countries that share land borders with Libya, the option of
intervening militarily to stabilize remains unlikely. There is a
consensus for a need to support the territorial unity of Libya and
strengthen their border controls to reduce arms, drugs and human
trafficking, as well as to reduce logistic support to radical
Islamists.
Impact on the economy
The prevailing security situation has negatively affected the
business environment and economic conditions for the state and
ordinary Libyans. The blocking of major oil fields and export
terminals by armed militias, that practically stopped the country’s
exports, has deprived the Libyan government form only main source of
revenues. Although the Libyan government has managed, after
negotiations, to regain control over these facilities, the
sustainability of such achievement is dependent on a political
settlement that satisfies all major Libyan political stakeholders.
Oil production and exports are expected to recover only gradually,
moreover depriving the government and the economy from valuable
export revenues.
Companies still face many challenges in implementing urgently needed
state-building and developmental projects across the country. Lack
of security does not only drive costs higher, but it also causes
long delays. Disrupted food and service supplies to war-affected
zones combined with the devaluation of Libyan Dinar have pushed
prices up.
The continued change of governments and ministers still hamper the
ability to develop clear vision of policies and strategies to re-
build state institutions, economic development and ensure equal
distribution of wealth among its citizens; a problem which is likely
to continue to characterize the political situation in Libya for the
months ahead.




For further questions, please contact us:
Mohammed El-Katiri
Senior Analyst
Tel: 44 (0) 2033 22 6671
Mobile: 44 (0) 7759200663
Email: mohammed.elkatiri@menainights.com