Rival Libyan leaders agree to set elections for December

Representatives of 20 countries met in Paris Tuesday where four rival Libyan leaders agreed to set parliamentary and presidential elections for December.

Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj (center left) shakes hands with French President Emmanuel Macron Tuesday at the International Conference on Libya in Paris, France. Photo by Etienne Laurent/Pool/EPA
Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj (center left) shakes hands with French President Emmanuel Macron Tuesday at the International Conference on Libya in Paris, France. Photo by Etienne Laurent/Pool/EPA

At the meeting were leaders from Libya’s neighboring countries, regional and European powers, the United States and international organizations. Electoral laws for the election will be adopted this summer.

The elections were set for Dec. 10.

“We reaffirm the existence and the need for a constitutional basis to organize an election and the need for everyone to work hand-in-hand to make sure the elections are a success,” Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj said at a news conference Tuesday.

Al-Sarraj said he called the meeting to try and end the civil war in Libya.

The country was divided in 2011 after a NATO-backed revolt that ended the reign of Muammar Gaddafi. Since 2014, the oil-producing nation has been split between competing political and military groups.

The four rival leaders include al-Sarraj, Libyan Army chief Khalifa Haftar, parliament speaker and al-Sarraj critic Aguila Saleh Issa and High Council of State leader Khalid Al-Mishri.

France is trying to broker the peace after failed efforts to bring stability by the United Nations and Italy.

French President Emmanuel Macron called Tuesday’s conference “historic” for bringing the rivals together and said the election agreement was “an essential step toward reconciliation.”

After attending a peace conference in Paris in December, the four leaders committed to holding the elections and agreed to accept the results and ensure appropriate funds and security measures.

By Susan McFarland