Participants at Libya’s UN-sponsored peace talks have approved a list of candidates seeking to lead a transitional government, the United Nations said.
The transitional government will oversee preparations for a national election at the end of 2021 that aims to end a decade of chaos and conflict that has left Libya split down the middle and hammered its vital oil exports on which the country’s economy depends.
The 75 participants at talks in Switzerland, ranging from regional and tribal figures to representatives of political factions, will vote next week to pick a three-person presidential council and a prime minister.
They will pick from 24 candidates for the three presidential council posts, while 21 people are vying for the post of prime minister, according to the UN list released on Saturday.
While UN-backed talks have progressed, many Libyans fear competition for posts could yet trigger new fighting, unravelling a ceasefire that has largely held since October.
Libya has been wracked by chaos since 2011 when a NATO-backed uprising overthrew and later killed longtime ruler Muammar Gaddafi.
The country has been split since 2014 between rival administrations in Tripoli in the west and Benghazi in the east.
The internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli is backed by Turkey, while renegade military commander Khalifa Haftar’s eastern-based, self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) is supported by the United Arab Emirates, Russia and Egypt.
Both sides represent sometimes unstable coalitions of different political, regional and armed factions.
Participants at the UN talks agreed on a formula for voting on the candidates for the transitional government this month.
The list of approved candidates includes Aguila Saleh, head of the eastern-based parliament, as well as the GNA’s interior minister Fathi Bashagha, defence minister Saleh Namroush, and Deputy Prime Minister Ahmed Maetig.