Libya's High State Council names Takala as new head

Ahram Online , Sunday 6 Aug 2023

Libya's High State Council (HSC) elected Mohamed Takala as its new head in a televised vote on Sunday, ousting his predecessor Khaled El-Meshri and further complicating a years-long political deadlock between rival factions.

Libya High council vote
The voting session began at the headquarters of the High State Council (HSC) in the capital, Tripoli. Photo courtesy Libyan news agency LANA


Members of the consultative HSC voted for Takala in a run-off by 67 votes to 62, ousting El-Meshri who has led the Tripoli-based body since 2018. 

The Tripoli-based HSC has been negotiating with Libya's main parliament, the House of Representatives (HoR), based in the country's east, over the electoral laws that will stipulate who is allowed to run for office.

Both parties have also engaged in heated debates under UN pressure over the role each will play in the formation of a new government, with both sides seeking to replace the interim government in Tripoli before any national vote.

Interim Prime Minister Abdulhamid Dbeibah, seen as a political rival of both El-Meshri and the HoR speaker Aguila Saleh, has said he will not cede office until after an election. Last year he fought off brief armed efforts to unseat him.

Both the HSC and HoR initially endorsed Dbeibah, but they could not agree on rules for an election. They have since rejected Dbeibah's mandate, pushing for a new interim government.

Since a 2011 NATO-backed uprising toppled strongman Muammar Qaddafi, the country has been caught in a decade of stop-start conflict between a myriad of militias backed by foreign powers.

The decade-long fighting came to a halt after a 2020 ceasefire, alongside a UN-backed push for new elections under Dbeibah's interim Government of National Unity.

UN diplomatic efforts have continued to pressure the HoR and HSC to reach an agreement over electoral laws, but many Libyans believe both parties have little interest in holding a vote that would push them out of office.

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