This week was marked by contradictory developments on the political scene as the Speaker of the House of Representatives (HoR) held talks with the head of the High National Election Commission (HNEC) regarding the organization of elections, while General Haftar proclaimed the end of the Skhirat Agreement on December 17 and the end of current Libyan institutions.
On Dec 11, Aquilah Saleh, Speaker of the HoR met with the head of the HNEC to discuss the organization of Libyan elections planned for next year. Reports suggest that the HoR Speaker asked about the HNEC's readiness to oversee the conduct of elections. While it seems that the HoR fully endorses the UN roadmap, there still have not been major advances on the matter of negotiations on amendments to the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA). Western and Eastern institutions reaching a consensus on the LPA stands as a key step in pushing towards a solution to Libya's political crisis.
Meanwhile, as the HoR appeared to move forward with the UN road-map, on 17 Dec, General Haftar declared in a televised address that the LPA and Presidential Council (PC) had expired and the Government of National Accord (GNA), or other institutions derived from the LPA, would no longer be legitimate. Despite recent statements by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) that there are no deadlines to the LPA, General Haftar’s address is expected to increase East-West tensions. Social media sources reported that the Nawasi Brigade in Tripoli rejected Haftar’s speech and accused him of undermining the peaceful transfer of power and attempting to bring dictatorship back to the country.
The prospects of a military operation by the Libyan National Army (LNA) to take power in the West remain unlikely, despite repeated claims it would support a military solution should negotiations fail. While there is potential for some cities in Western Libya to declare support for General Haftar following the perceived end of the LPA, we do not expect any major changes to the security situation in Tripoli, although tensions could develop in some cities in the West. Whispering Bell continues to monitor closely reports and potential ramifications on the security situation.
Regarding elections, last week was marked by the launch of a campaign advertising for voter registration by the HNEC. However, there were reports that pro-General Haftar units had attacked polling stations in Eastern Libya and taken down HNEC posters. On Dec 11 the HNEC declared that reports of attacks on polling stations in Eastern Libya had been amplified by media outlets. According to the HNEC, most of the polling stations in the eastern area were untouched. The HNEC also reported that since the announcement of the opening of voter registration, 2,660 Libyan citizens registered to vote, and 1.5 million voters were already registered in the system from past elections.