Libya’s elections without a constitution : a risky gamble


Since the resumption of a political dialogue in November 2020, Libyans have failed to agree on a constitutional and legal framework for the general elections planned for 24 December 2021. With the polls now a few days off, this political deadlock raises doubts about whether the elections can restore the political legitimacy and stability that Libya so badly needs. The lack of an agreed constitutional formula and the lack of regulation for future political authorities risks jeopardizing not only the legitimacy of the electoral process. There is also the management of the post-election period at stake. While the constitutional debate has seen political struggle and instrumentalization, this paper argues that there are also objective risks to holding elections in the absence of an agreed constitutional standard. The author provides some suggestions on how to handle this issue. The crucial importance of reaching a definitive agreement on the core issues that have fuelled conflict for a decade and on the fundamental values that unite Libyans is also set out.

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