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Libya parliament suspended until new presidential election date set

Libya’s parliament on Monday suspended its sessions indefinitely until a new date is set for the presidential election postponed last month.

The suspension was decided upon at a parliamentary session devoted to discussing the work of the electoral commission.

Parliament spokesman Abdullah Blehaq said the suspension was to give the commission more time to communicate with various authorities concerned with the electoral process “in order to remove force majeure and set a new date for the elections.”

Parliament sessions will not be resumed until the commission submits a new proposal to the legislator “as soon as possible”, Blehaq said.

The meeting on Monday was held in the eastern coastal city of Tobruk, where the commission is based and was attended by 80 lawmakers.

A protest took place outside the building where members of parliament met.

Protesters stopped lawmakers as they left the meeting, calling on them to resign and demanding the frozen elections take place.

تظاهر المئات أمام مقر مجلس النواب الليبي في طبرق للمطالبة بإجراء الانتخابات الرئاسية.#ليبيا #الشاهد
— صحيفة الشاهد الليبية (@LyWitness) January 3, 2022

The presidential election had been set for 24 December, and was meant to be the culmination of United Nations-led efforts to drag Libya out of a decade of conflict since a 2011 revolt against dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

But it was derailed by bitter arguments over divisive candidates and a disputed legal framework.

The commission, charged with overseeing the elections, had last week called for the reshuffle of Libya’s interim government, saying it would be too risky to fix a new date for the ballot.

Years of conflict have killed and displaced hundreds of thousands in Libya and ruined the country’s infrastructure and economy.

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