Former PM warns election would risk Libya's partition

Former PM warns election would risk Libya's partition
Mahmoud Jibril has said an election would sow further division in Libya unless all parties agreed to respect its results.
2 min read
Mahmoud Jibril led the National Transitional Council in 2011 [Getty]
Libya risks partition if it proceeds with an election without security guarantees and a national consensus on state building, a former prime minister said on Tuesday.

Mahmoud Jibril, who led the rebel National Transitional Council during the 2011 uprising that toppled longtime strong Muammar Gaddafi, said a UN-backed goal for elections by the end of 2018 was unwise. 

"The country is still not ready. More unity is needed, more consensus is needed," Jibril said from his base in Cairo.

"To go for elections when the country is so divided – we are exposing the country to real partition".

Jibril served under Gaddafi as head of an economic reform body from 2007 to 2011, but broke with the Libyan leader and sided with rebels. He successfully lobbied NATO to launch an air campaign that toppled the late strongman.

Jibril says the electoral success of his National Forces Alliance (NFA) was undermined by armed groups who have held real power in Tripoli, abducting officials to enforce their will. 

The NFA won the most votes in 2012, but Jibril lost a contest to become prime minister. The result of elections in 2014 were disputed after party lists were banned, leading to rival governments in the country's east and west. 

Armed militants thrived in the political and security vacuum following 2014. 

Jibril said that written commitments to accept election results must be guaranteed to ensure they are respected. 

"If those conditions are not met I don't think we can participate, because that means we are exposing ourselves to a third round of disappointment, a third round of unfulfilled dreams," he said. 

On Tuesday Libya's neighbours warned that unless a political solution was reached security would continue to deteriorate. Jibril's remarks follow UN Libya envoy Ghassan Salame saying on Monday he had given up trying to amend a stalled 2015 peace deal and was instead focusing on holding elections this year.

"Any delay for the resolution of the Libyan crisis could open the way for further escalation, violence, terrorism and conflicts," the foreign ministers of Algeria, Egypt and Tunisia said in a joint statement.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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