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Libyan parliament suspends session without election crisis breakthrough

Libya’s parliament on Tuesday suspended its session until next week without a vote on any of the proposals raised on Monday for handling the fallout of last week’s delayed election.

The session in Tobruk on Monday and Tuesday represented a first effort by Libya’s fractured political class to chart a way forward after the election was delayed following disputes over the rules.

However, Monday’s session broke up amid shouted arguments after various proposals were raised to push back the election date, look at restructuring the GNU and consider constitutional changes.

Tuesday’s session had been expected to include votes on those proposals. The parliament spokesman did not give any immediate reason for the suspension of the session.

It leaves in the balance both the electoral process and the future of the interim Government of National Unity (GNU) and Prime Minister Abdulhamid al-Dbeibah.

Dbeibah’s eligibility as a presidential candidate was a major cause of disagreement in the run-up to the election.

On Monday UN special envoy Stephanie Williams told Reuters that the main focus should be on moving forward with elections that were wanted by a majority of Libyans.

Simultaneous presidential and parliamentary elections were conceived last year through a UN-backed political roadmap as part of a plan to end a decade of chaos and violence since the 2011 NATO-backed uprising that ousted Muammar Gaddafi.

The parliament was elected in 2014 but split soon afterwards as the country divided between warring eastern and western factions, with most of the chamber relocating from the capital Tripoli to Tobruk and backing the eastern side in the conflict.

This week’s session was one of the rare moments since 2014 that brought together more than 100 parliament members drawn from across the fragmented political scene to take part in a debate and vote on Libya’s future.

Another proposal, that was raised but not yet voted on, was to expel the British ambassador after Britain said the GNU remained valid and it would not recognise any new move to set up a parallel government.

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