By Peter Kenny
GENEVA (AA) - A committee advising a UN-brokered Libyan political forum ended Saturday with the acting special envoy saying a new phase to elect presidential candidates will begin in a virtual process Monday by choosing a temporary executive.
Stephanie Williams said at a news conference in Geneva that the body will call upon the political dialogue members to vote on the proposed mechanism, noting that a recent reduction in conflict helped the peace process.
It follows a process that began in Tunis in November to renew Libyan institutions' legitimacy and work to hold national elections.
"What we are talking about here is a temporary, unified executive authority that will be replaced by a permanently democratically elected government, chosen by the Libyan people on December 24 of this year," said Williams. "This is a Libyan process. It is not being brokered by foreign powers in smoke-filled rooms in faraway capitals."
The committee was formed after the main 75-member Libyan Political Dialogue Forum failed to choose a proposal for a mechanism with the needed pre-agreed majority.
"The Libyan political dialogue forum agreed clear steps leading to these elections that shall be held on an agreed-upon constitutional basis," said Williams.
It will present candidates for President of the Presidency Council, member of the Presidency Council, or Prime Minister and vote on an agreed mechanism.
"UNSMIL [United Nations Support Mission in Libya] will call upon the political dialogue members to vote on the proposed mechanism ... over 24 hours. We will announce the results on January 19 after voting has been completed," according to Williams, who said that the mandate of the temporary executive is limited.
"And as I said, that expires on the date that the elections are held on the 24th of December," she said.
Countries and regional organizations in the Berlin process had "very good interaction" with the Libyan tracks, said Williams.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Dec. 31 that the current cease-fire in Libya was secured thanks to cooperation between Russia and Turkey, both of which also contributed to organizing the Berlin peace conference.
Libya has been torn by civil war since the ouster of late ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.
Based in the capital of Tripoli and currently led by Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj, the Government of National Accord (GNA) was founded in 2015 under a UN-led agreement. But efforts for a long-term political settlement have failed due to a military offensive by militias loyal to strongman Khalifa Haftar.
The Al-Sarraj government has been battling Haftar's militias since April 2019 in a conflict that has claimed thousands of lives.