Libya should press ahead with national elections even if voters reject a draft constitution in a planned referendum, the head of the country’s internationally recognised parliament said. The comments by Aguila Saleh could help assuage U.N. and Western concerns that the House of Representatives (HoR) might try to undermine efforts to organise elections to help end the years-long conflict in Libya. The United Nations and Western powers hope Libya will hold its national elections by June after holding a referendum on a constitutional framework to chart a way out of the conflict, which stems from the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.
“Because we want a constitution (based on) consensus this will take time… We need an executive authority and there is no other choice than (electing) a temporary president (if the draft constitution is rejected),” Saleh told Reuters in a weekend interview in his home town of Qubba in eastern Libya.
He did not mention a possible date for the elections.
A French plan, backed by the United Nations, had initially called for national elections on Dec. 10, but weeks of fighting in the capital Tripoli between rival groups and parliament’s failure to approve necessary legislation made that impossible.