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Libya’s UN envoy says time running out for polls framework

The UN envoy to Libya Jan Kubis said on Monday that time was pressing for Libyans to finalise a legal framework for elections to be held on time in December.

“The (Libyan) government has taken the necessary dispositions to hold elections but we need a legal framework,” Kubis said at the opening of a meeting in Algeria of Libya’s neighbours.

“The members of parliament are now trying to finalise the electoral law and time is running out,” Kubis said in statements carried in French by the official Algerian news agency APS.

The two-day ministerial meeting is aimed at helping Libyans achieve national reconciliation and draw a roadmap for organising the polls.

But recent talks in Geneva have exposed deep divisions over when to hold elections, what elections to hold, and on what constitutional grounds, threatening to plunge Libya back into crisis.

The North African country was gripped by violence and political turmoil in the aftermath of the 2011 NATO-backed uprising that ousted dictator Moamer Ghadaffi and in which he was killed.

In recent years, the oil-rich country split between two rival administrations backed by foreign powers and myriad militias.

After eastern strongman Khalifa Haftar’s forces were routed from the country’s west last year, the two camps signed a ceasefire in Geneva in October.

An interim administration was established in March this year to prepare for presidential and parliamentary polls on December 24.

Kubis on Monday said that Libya’s unity government backed by the UN has “allocated the necessary budget for the elections.

“But it is important that as soon as possible we have a legal framework” for the polls, he said.

Kubis said he told MPs to “assume their responsibilities and not waste time”. He also called on Libya’s neighbours to appoint observers to monitor the polls.

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