A Russian social scientist Maxim Shugaley, who was recently released from the Libyan secret Mitiga prison after a year and a half of illegal detention, presented results of an opinion poll among Libyan inhabitants. The poll, unveiled on February 4, was carried out by the Foundation for National Values Protection. The outcome speaks for itself: 52,6 percent of Libyans do not trust the decisions of the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF).
The LPDF has been held since November 2020 under the auspices of the UN, originally at a venue in Tunisia. This week the new session of the LPDF started in Geneva. The aim of the forum, according to the press office of the Geneva UN headquarters, consists in the “formation of a single temporary executive authority for the whole country, which presumes as the main thrust the national elections being held on December 24, 2021.”
Since 2011, after the NATO intervention and the assassination of the Libya leader Muammar Qaddafi, Libya has been in a state of permanent civil war. Now there are two governments opposing each other in the country: the Libyan National Army (LNA) of Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar in Benghazi and Fayez Sarraj’s Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli.
In November 2020, the LPDF agreed to hold general elections in December 2020 but did not agree on the composition of future transitional authorities. In February 2021, during the session in Geneva, the forum participants will be implementing another attempt on reaching a consensus on the issue. There are several political players competing for the post of Prime minister. In particular, Ahmed Maiteeq, deputy Prime minister of the GNA, and Fathi Bashagha, the GNA Interior minister. Noteworthy however is that Bashagha is one of the numerous GNA officials who are suspected of being in close liaison with Islamist extremists.
It should be highlighted that according to the poll, 43,1 percent of respondents in both East and West Libya fear that military action may continue in the country despite any decisions reached by the LPDF. Among the main reasons of such distrust towards the forum from the side of Libyan citizens could have been the decidedly non-transparent procedures for selecting participants. In particular, the main and only figure who made decisions on that was Stephanie Williams, Acting Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General.
The dialogue in Tunisia had already been rife with scandals after the reported cases of bribery among participants. It is known that both in Tunisia and now in Geneva, Stephanie Williams introduced censorship regarding the photo and video feeds of what will be happening during the forum, as well as strict rules on disclosing information about the negotiations. Such a rule is quite a convenient screen for anyone who is interested in illegal meddling and manipulation.
Figures released by the Russian pollsters have confirmed this assumption. Almost half of Libya’s citizens – 49,0 percent – do not know who is representing their interests at the LPDF. Some 46.5 percent do not even know who the contenders are for high office in the country and over 40 percent do not trust the head of the United Nation Support Mission in Libya participating in the choice of a new government for this country. More than 43 percent of respondents fear that after any decisions of the LPDF, hostilities may be resumed.
Moreover, the majority of Libyan residents suspect the LPDF of having too close ties to the Muslim Brotherhood’s supporters at the forum. According to a survey by the Foundation for the National Values Protection, 6,4 percent of Libyans have a negative attitude towards the presence of the Muslim Brotherhood at the LPDF. As a result, only 33,5 percent of Libyans are positive about the format of the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum.
Summarizing the opinion poll’s data, it is worth mentioning that the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum could have received more support from Libyans if it had been more transparent and free of extremist participants. Beyond that, 74,2 percent of Libyans would prefer to have the forum meetings in Libya and not in some foreign country. However, it remains an open question whether functionaries responsible for the forum will pay constructive attention to the opinion of the Libyans reflected in the poll.
Detailed results of the opinion poll are published on the website of the Foundation for National Values Protection:
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