There have been several attempts to hold elections since Libya’s 2011 revolution. But so far, each has failed to produce a sustainable result. Any new electoral roadmap, such as the one recently proposed by U.N. Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Libya Abdoulaye Bathily, must contend with the seemingly intractable issue at the heart of the conflict: a lack of trust between Libyans.
The Presidential Council of Libya, the three-person body that currently serves as Libya’s head of state, believes that a national reconciliation process — alongside the push for elections— is the only way to achieve consensus between the various parties competing for power. USIP’s Andrew Cheatham spoke with Abdullah al-Lafi, one of the three members of the Presidential Council, about the efforts to develop a constitutional basis for elections, Libyans’ strategic vision for national reconciliation and why building trust is crucial for moving the political process away from a zero-sum equation to one where all Libyans see benefit in democratic cooperation.