Libya’s foreign minister Tuesday refused to exclude the possibility that general elections set for December may have to be postponed, if parliament delays ratification of an electoral law.
The development comes a day after the UN envoy to Libya warned that time was running short to prepare for the polls, after recent talks in Geneva exposed deep divisions over when to hold elections, what elections to hold, and on what constitutional grounds.
“As a government, we have put in place everything required to move towards elections, providing financial, logistical and material support to the elections commission,” Foreign Minister Najla al-Mangoush told a news conference in Algiers, after meeting with Algerian officials.
“I cannot answer whether the elections will be postponed or not, but we are trying to ensure they will be held on the scheduled date” of December 24.
But “we are still waiting to see if parliament will approve the electoral law… this could block or postpone the election,” she added.
The minister also said there would be a “consultative meeting” of neighbouring countries and “friendly states” in late September or early October, with the security of the polls high on the agenda.
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.
The North African country was gripped by violence and political turmoil in the aftermath of the 2011 NATO-backed uprising that ousted dictator Moamer Gadaffi 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 and an interim government was established earlier this year to lead the country towards the planned polls.