Libya: Abdel Hamid Dabaiba Refuses to Leave Power, Plans Indefinite Postponement of Elections

Dabaiba states he will not relinquish his position and that his government will continue to operate, which constitutes a definitive departure from legitimacy,

In a tone of defiance, Abdel Hamid al-Dabaiba, head of the caretaker government in Libya, said that his government will continue its work until a constitution is drawn up and real elections are held that will produce a leadership for the country.

With such a statement, Libyans will have to wait for years during which a new draft of the constitution will be drawn up, consultations will be held, and  a public referendum organized in which the people will either accept or reject that draft.

In light of the inaction and procrastination that  serves the interests of the political elites and preserves their privileges, the Libyan people will endure a repeat of the scenario of the Government of National Accord headed by Fayez Al-Sarraj, which came to lead the country in a transitional phase that was not to exceed two years, yet it remained in power for five years, during which it perpetuated discord instead of reconciliation, war instead of peace, and division instead of unity.

On the fifth of last February, it was announced from within the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum in Geneva that Abdel Hamid al-Dabaiba had won the position of head of the new transitional government, and was on a joint list with the candidate for the presidency of the Presidential Council, Muhammad al-Manfi, and the candidates for its membership, Abdullah al-Lafi and Musa al-Koni, as they signed a commitment not to run for the elections, which they were tasked to organize for the twenty-fourth of December.

In mid-March, after receiving feedback and pressures from inside and outside, the House of Representatives held a plenary session in Sirte with the aim of considering granting confidence to the new government. This was done with the stipulation that this government would be a caretaker government until the twenty-fourth of December.

Al-Dabaiba felt that getting to rule a rich and influential country like Libya was not difficult, and would not cost him much compared to the gains he could achieve for himself, those around him, and those at the head of the executive authority, and it was easy to convince the United Nations, its agencies and major countries not to publish the results of the investigation into suspicions of corruption at the Tunis Forum in November 2020 related to huge sums paid to buy members’ votes.

Dabaiba surrounded himself with a professional communication team that polished his image to promote him as a candidate for the presidency of a country with a constitution which would allow him to practice not his own individual dictatorship, but the dictatorship of forces and groups that were behind planning to push him into power many years before – forces and groups linked to money, business, credit, financial and administrative corruption,the oil and gas markets, that have mobile hands inside the Central Bank of Libya with an external cover that is no longer hidden from anyone.

Dabaiba launched a wide propaganda campaign targeting most groups of society including the youth, workers, the poor, the needy, retirees, widows, divorced women, those married to foreigners, stateless persons and others. Within a few months, he approved unprecedented measures, including helping those wishing to marry, and raising the salaries of employees, thus turning into one of the most prominent Leaders of voting intentions, and to one of the most important candidates to compete for the presidency of the country.

Dabaiba had to move in another direction to win the support of militias, warlords, militants of the February 17 movement, political Islam groups and others, by expressing hostility to the army leadership in the east of the country and to Khalifa Haftar, marginalizing members of his government from the Cyrenaica region, including his deputy, Hussein al-Qatrani, and with an attempted coup against the articles of the political agreement. His advisers told him that he should appear as a popular leader capable of inspiring optimism in citizens about the possibility of benefiting from the vast looted wealth of their country, as well as as a regional leader, given that Tripoli represents a demographic majority that guarantees the majority of votes from the voter register to the polls.

On the ninth of September, the House of Representatives announced the final ratification of the presidential election law, which included the conditions for candidacy, stated in Article 12,  that any official or civil or military employee must give up his job three months before the polling date. Parliament Aqila Saleh and army commander Khalifa Haftar abided by this condition, while Dabaiba ignored it.

On the twenty-second of September, the House of Representatives, the only legislative body in the country, decided to withhold confidence from the Dabaiba government, and limit it to operate strictly within its mandate until the twenty-fourth of December, after which it would become nil. On the twenty-first of November, when Dabaiba advanced his candidacy for the presidency, he exceeded his moral obligations to the Dialogue Forum and Article 12 of the Presidential Election Law.

Dabaiba was convinced that his relationship with the Electoral Commission and its head, Imad al-Sayeh, with its influence on judicial decisions, would help him to address any legal challenge to his candidacy to become a contender for the position of the first elected head of the Libyan state since its founding in 1951, which is precisely what happened,

The presidential elections were postponed for many reasons, most notably due to the legal and political violations that Dabaiba created by his candidacy, and the country entered a stage of sharp debate over the future of the government that lacked parliamentary legitimacy that acted within the framework of a de facto policy under the cover of international powers that shield corrupt lawbreakers, paying them to continue in their authoritarian positions,  where they have been looting billions in Libyan  wealth for over a decade.

Today, Dabaiba says he will not give up his position and that his government will continue. This constitutes a definitive departure from legitimacy, but what legitimacy? And when was legitimacy ever respected? Everything that has been going on in Libya for ten years is related to interests, deals and promises, which have resulted in internal and external looting by the wealthy. Just as Al-Sarraj remained in power for five years by de facto law, Dabaiba will balance the interests of local and foreign thieves. As for the elections, even if they are organized, their results will only lead to more disagreements as long as the militias and the criminal gangs are frolicking.

Al Arab

Translation by Internationalist 360°