Libya PM-Designate Defends Vote Marred by Graft Claims
Libya's interim prime minister-designate on Monday defended the process that saw him elected, following reports of vote-buying during the U.N.-led peace talks.
Abdul Hamid Dbeibah was elected last month during the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF), the United Nations' latest bid to salvage the country from a decade of conflict and fragmentation.
But U.N. experts wrote in report seen by AFP Sunday, and not yet made public, that at least three participants were given hundreds of thousands of dollars each in bribes to vote for Dbeibah.
On Monday, Dbeibah's office said he was "monitoring attempts to undermine the process of forming a government and obstruct the process of approving it, by spreading rumors and false reports".
The statement confirmed the "integrity of the process through which the new authority was selected, in full transparency, as witnessed by Libyans."
"We assure the Libyan people that the first stage of the roadmap will soon be completed" with a confidence vote in parliament to approve the government, Dbeibah said.
The U.N. launched the LPDF in November, aiming to establish a unified executive in a country governed by rival eastern and western administrations backed by an array of armed groups and foreign powers.
But the initial talks in Tunisia were marred by allegations of vote-buying.
In the report set to be presented to the Security Council in March, U.N. experts found that during the Tunisia talks, two participants "offered bribes of between $150,000 to $200,000 to at least three LPDF participants if they committed to vote for Dbeibah as PM."
In a passage of the report, the experts say that one delegate "erupted in anger in lobby of the Four Seasons hotel in Tunis on hearing that some participants may have received up to... $500,000 for their Dbeibah votes, whereas he had only received $200,000."
The report was prepared by U.N. experts tasked with examining breaches of an international arms embargo on the North African nation.
Dbeibah, a billionaire from the western city of Misrata, has not yet named his cabinet and must win a vote of confidence from the Libyan parliament by March 19.
But the speaker of parliament has said the legislature will convene on March 8 to discuss the vote of confidence.