July 18-25: Misrata Fears Marginalization in Shadow of Serraj and Haftar’s Agreement

Jul 26, 2017 | Libyan actors

On 25 July, French President Emmanuel Macron hosted a meeting between Fayez al-Serraj, the head of the Presidential Council (PC) and Government of National Accord (GNA), and Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, General Commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA) at La Celle-Saint-Cloud outside Paris. According to a draft statement released today by Macron’s presidential office, Serraj and Haftar have ‘committed to a ceasefire’ with promises to use force for counter-terrorism efforts only, and to work towards holding ‘presidential and parliamentary elections as soon as possible,’ with UN supervision.

The full details of the discussion are not public at this time. However, the meeting is thought to have focused on brokering a deal for a structural change to the Presidential Council (PC), which would reduce the body to the three key players: Serraj, Haftar and House of Representatives (HoR) president Agilah Saleh. Insiders surmise the underlying agreement may include some sort of trade-off for accepting Serraj’s new political roadmap, such as amendment of the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA), presumably in Haftar’s favour, which would be endorsed by the HoR by the constitutional declaration in the interim.

Such agreements have provoked concerns among key political players in Misrata such as Abdurrahman Swehli, head of the High Council of State (HCS), and Ahmed Metig, that Misrata and other Islamist-affiliated members of the PC are likely to be marginalised as a result of the deal and excluded from Libyan power politics in the interim. Since Serraj unveiled his new roadmap on 14 July, the HCS has been at the centre of debate as the plan would ultimately dissolve the HCS as an interim institution in exchange for new parliamentary and presidential elections.