Libyan Factions Agree to Elections Despite Deep Divisions

United Nations officials — who have been working with a wider group on a plan to adopt a new constitution, call elections and bring stability — also participated in the Paris meeting, as did representatives of 20 countries, including Libya’s neighbors and regional and Western powers.

“Today’s meeting was inclusive,” said Dorothée Schmid, who leads the Middle East and North Africa section of the French Institute for International Relations. “France is backing the U.N. process, and that is progress,” she said, noting that when Mr. Macron began his effort on Libya last year, he was not working with other countries and organizations.

A report issued this week by the International Crisis Group, a Brussels-based research organization, pointed to the difficulties in bringing the Libyan factions together.

Libyan Factions Agree to Elections Despite Deep Divisions
Libyan Factions Agree to Elections Despite Deep Divisions

“Libya remains a fragmented polity with multiple potential spoilers,” it said. “These four individuals do not capture the ideological, tribal and political rifts that run through the country, and indeed have done much to deepen them.”

Claudia Gazzini, who studies Libya for the International Crisis Group, noted that the Libyan Constitution did not include the post of president, and that a new constitution had not yet been put to a referendum. So a Dec. 10 date for elections, she said, could be contentious.

“We will have to see what the constituencies say,” Ms. Gazzini said.

A faction from Misurata in western Libya declined an invitation to the Paris meeting, saying it was not being treated in the same way as other delegations.

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