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Libya parliament refuses to fix date for delayed polls

By AFP - Dec 27,2021 - Last updated at Dec 27,2021

BENGHAZI, Libya — Libya's parliament on Monday refused to fix a date for presidential elections meant to have taken place last week, leaving question marks over the fate of the poll.

The vote, set for Friday, was meant to be the culmination of United Nations-led efforts to drag Libya out of a decade of conflict since a 2011 revolt. But it was derailed by bitter arguments over divisive candidates and a disputed legal framework.

On Monday the parliamentary committee charged with overseeing the election presented a report saying it would be risky to set a new date at this stage.

That was a direct rebuff to the electoral commission which had suggested holding the vote on January 24.

The parliamentary committee is part of an assembly based in eastern Libya since 2014, reflecting the country's deep divisions.

The committee recommended laying out "a new, realistic and applicable roadmap, with defined stages, rather than fixing new dates and repeating the same errors".

The report, read to members of parliament by committee president Al Haid Al Sghayer, also suggested setting up a committee to draft a new constitution to replace the one scrapped by dictator Muammar Qadhafi in 1969.

It also called for a reshuffle of the interim government of Abdulhamid Dbeibah, whose mandate was meant to end with Friday’s elections.

The parliament has yet to debate the proposals.

Dbeibah heads a unity administration based in the capital Tripoli, in the country’s west, and which was tasked with leading the North African country to the elections.

The vote, after a year of relative calm, was to have been Libya’s first ever direct presidential ballot.

But months of disputes finally saw the vote postponed just two days before it was to take place, when the committee overseeing the election declared holding it impossible on the scheduled date.

The electoral commission has yet to announce a finalised list of candidates for the presidential poll. Its work was hobbled by court cases against the bids of several divisive figures seen as unacceptable to one section or another of Libyan society.

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