Members of Libya’s rival legislatures to discuss unifying parliament

Members of Libya’s rival House of Representatives will meet today to discuss unifying parliament in preparation for the country’s general

Photo: AFP-Fethi Belaid

Members of Libya’s rival House of Representatives will meet today to discuss unifying parliament in preparation for the country’s general elections scheduled for late 2021.

Since rebel General Khalifa Haftar and his self-declared Libyan National Army (LNA) agreed to negotiate with the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) in June, the two sides have held talks on reorganising the GNA’s cabinet to integrate the LNA.

The current negotiations minimise the influence that Haftar, who has repeatedly spoiled previous negotiations, has long enjoyed over the peace process. However, it fails to address the cause of a conflict that has mired Libya in a decade-long civil war: the deep-rooted incompatibility between the political interests of the rival factions.

Though the GNA-LNA divide is often portrayed as one of Islamism versus secularism, instead, it is rooted in Qaddafi-era fault lines. Haftar’s armed forces, based on Qaddafi’s tribal patronage system, seek to reincarnate the military structure that kept the former dictator in power for decades. In contrast, the GNA is an ideologically incoherent group, united initially by opposition to Qaddafi and his lieutenants. Thus, as a prerequisite for creating a civil government, Haftar’s bloc must undergo a significant reformation, which would require the UN to put far more pressure on Haftar.

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