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Libya parliament to meet Monday on elections timetable: official

Libya’s parliament is to meet on Monday to debate a new timeline for elections, an official said, after presidential polls set for this week were postponed.

The House of Representatives had on Wednesday deemed the vote, meant to draw a line under years of conflict in the North African nation, “impossible” to hold on time.

On Thursday, the parliamentary source who asked to remain anonymous told AFP that a committee had been formed to set out a new roadmap.

The official said the assembly may propose reshuffling or replacing the current unity government.

The poll was meant to take place just over a year after a landmark east-west ceasefire in a country that has seen a decade of conflict since the 2011 revolt that overthrew dictator Moamer Kadhafi.

But the run-up to the country’s first-ever presidential election has been overshadowed by angry disputes over its legal basis and the candidacies of several controversial figures including Kadhafi’s son, Seif al-Islam.

One point of contention was a presidential elections law controversially passed by speaker Aguila Saleh, which critics say bypassed due process and favoured a run by his ally, eastern military chief Khalifa Haftar.

The law was strongly opposed by factions in western Libya, where Haftar had waged a year-long battle to seize Tripoli.

The electoral board has suggested pushing the vote back by a month to January 24, but given the animosity between the eastern-based parliament and authorities in Tripoli, agreeing a new date will be far from easy.

The delay is also embarrassing for the United Nations, which had shepherded the October 2020 ceasefire and a dialogue process intended to help stabilise the country.

The world body’s envoy Jan Kubis quit just a month before the polls, and American diplomat Stephanie Williams was appointed as the UN secretary-general’s special adviser on Libya.

Williams has been in Libya for several days meeting with presidential candidates.

On Thursday, she met Saleh, and “welcomed his commitment for the continuation of the electoral process”, according to her Twitter feed.

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