Islamist politician Abdelhakim Belhaj believes that the solution to end the political deadlock in Libya is to hold parliamentary elections first, followed by presidential elections, as opposed to holding them both simultaneously as per the U.N. peace plan.
Belhaj, the former leader of the Libyan terrorist organization known as the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, spoke with Libyan TV channel Al-Masar during an interview which aired on Saturday evening.
The 56-year-old proposed that “candidates of the political Islam movement” should not participate in the upcoming elections. He explained that the “political Islam movement cannot rally behind one figure”.
While he admittedly acknowledged that he maintains communication with armed groups in Tripoli, Belhaj claimed that he merely engages in political action and has nothing to do with “igniting a war or pushing for revenge.”
The Islamist politician considered the between cooperation between the House of Representatives and Fathi Bashagha, who were both once political rivals, sends “a positive message that the Libyans are peace-loving”.
Nevertheless, Belhaj criticized attempts by Bashagha’s allied forces to enter Tripoli, thus threatening the incumbent premier Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh who refuses to relinquish power. According to Belhaj, the attempted forceful entry deepened the fracture between the divided military establishment in both the eastern and western Libya.
He professed optimism about the work of the 5+5 Joint Military Committee in addressing this fracture. Belhaj went on to reveal that maintains communication with military personnel in the Libyan scene, including the General Commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA), Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar.
“I have had contact with him several times and on more than one occasion,” adding that Haftar “has the right to present his visions and ideas.”