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Libya closes registration for election as 2.8M sign up to vote

Registration for the upcoming December elections in Libya was closed, the country’s election commission said Tuesday as doubts grow about whether Libya will be able to head toward normalization despite a monthslong pause in fighting.

Commission head Imad al-Sayeh told journalists in Tripoli that some 2.83 million people in the North African country had signed up to vote and invited citizens overseas to register from Wednesday onward.

Libya, home to some 7 million people, has made tentative steps since last summer toward ending a decade of violent fragmentation initially sparked by the overthrow of dictator Moammar Gadhafi in 2011.

A United Nations-brokered cease-fire signed in October between warring eastern and western camps has largely held.

Parallel political negotiations have installed a transitional government tasked with leading the country toward national elections set for Dec. 24.

But despite months of relative peace, Libyans remain at odds over when the elections should be held, which elections, and on what legal basis.

Libya has been without a constitution since Gadhafi scrapped it in 1969.

The 75 delegates selected by the U.N. to guide the political transition have yet to agree on a constitutional basis for the December polls.

Last week at a virtual meeting they again failed to reach a compromise despite pressure from the U.N.

Sayeh said Tuesday that the commission was waiting for a new electoral law to be passed in order for candidates to begin signing up.

Similarly, United States Special Envoy and Ambassador to Libya Richard Norland said that political leaders in Libya must compromise to meet public expectations for free and fair elections.

Norland pointed out that this will be an essential step toward stability, unity and democracy in the North African nation.

Norland also noted that stability and continued progress on the political and security process will lead to greater economic opportunities, foreign investment and prosperity for Libyans.

On the other side, the Libyan Army has warned that there are indications that war is still a possibility in Libya.

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