While many voices among the international community, including Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, and within Libya's Government of National Accord (GNA), reasserted their support for the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA), a climate of political uncertainty prevails in Libya since General Haftar proclaimed the end of the LPA on Dec 17, raising questions over the legitimacy of current Libyan institutions. Over the course of the reporting period, Whispering Bell also witnessed an increase in political tensions between Eastern and Western institutions over the appointment of a new governor for the Central Bank of Libya (CBL).
The week was marked by conflicting statements over the appointment by the House of Representatives (HoR) of a new governor for the Tripoli-based CBL. On Dec 19, the HoR held a session in Tobruk to appoint a new governor for the Tripolibased CBL. Mohamed Al-Shukri, former director of the Jumhouria Bank and former deputy vice governor of the CBL, was nominated by the HoR to replace current governor Al-Siddiq Al-Kabeer. The candidate received 54 of the 107 votes.
The organization of the session was delayed by pro-Haftar protestors who self-identified as the “Popular Mandate Committee” and temporarily shut down the HoR building, preventing deputies from entering the premises. The protestors demanded that the HoR guarantees it would only focus on the election of a CBL governor during the session, and not discuss potential amendments to the LPA. The protests, come in the aftermath of General Haftar proclaiming the end of the LPA and stand as an indicator of the climate of political uncertainty prevailing in the country. Whispering Bell expects similar sporadic disruptions to occur following General Haftar’s declaration.
The HoR appointment of Al-Shukri as new CBL governor was rejected by the Tripoli-based CBL, the High Council of State (HCS) and the UN Special Mission to Libyan (UNSMIL). The HCS and the UNSMIL stated the HoR's appointment of a new CBL governor violated the LPA's Article 15, which states that the HCS must appoint, in coordination with the HoR, individuals found fit for state sovereign positions. As a result, the UNSMIL requested current CBL governor Al-Siddiq AlKabeer to remain in position until further notice. However, despite conflicting views, parties reportedly remained committed to working together. On Dec 24, media reports suggested both institutions could be engaged in negotiations to reach a consensus, potentially enabling AlShukri to effectively become the CBL's next governor. The UN Special Envoy to Libya Ghassan Salame is also reportedly acting as a mediator between the HoR and HCS.