: Libya’s Election Faces Uncertainty Amid Towering Challenges #WorldNEWS Libya’s presidential election, meant to help unify the nation after a decade of civil war, is supposed to take place in
Libya’s Election Faces Uncertainty Amid Towering Challenges #WorldNEWS
Libya’s presidential election, meant to help unify the nation after a decade of civil war, is supposed to take place in just over a week, but calls are mounting for a delay.
Either scenario—holding the vote on time or postponing it—could turn into a destabilizing setback.
The vote, scheduled for Dec. 24, is to choose Libya’s first president since the ouster and killing of longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi more than a decade ago.
For nearly a year, the election has been the lynchpin of international efforts to bring peace to the oil-rich North African nation, and supporters fear a dangerous void if it is not held on schedule.
But critics warn that going ahead with the vote now could throw the country into new violence. They say Libya remains too bitterly divided among armed factions that are likely to reject any victory by rivals in the election. The presence of some of Libya’s most polarizing figures in the race—including one of Gadhafi’s sons—only makes it more explosive.
Nearly 100 people have announced their candidacies, but the election commission has still not announced a final list of candidates because of legal disputes. It should have announced the list earlier this month. The rules governing the election are also in dispute, with western Libya politicians accusing the east-based parliament of adopting them without consultations.
Libya plunged into chaos after Gadhafi’s death during a 2011 uprising backed by a U. S. -led NATO military campaign. Control splintered among a myriad of armed militias. For years, the country was split between rival administrations in the east and the west, each backed by militias and foreign governments.
The current political process emerged last year after the latest round of brutal fighting.
In April 2019, the eastern-based military commander Khalifa Hifter launched an offensive aimed at capturing the capital, Tripoli, and bringing down the U. N. -recognized government based there. Hifter was backed by Russia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. Turkey and Qatar responded by stepping up support for pro-Tripoli militias, supplying them with advanced weapons and providing troops and Syrian mercenaries.
After 14 months of fighting, Hifter’s offensive collapsed. After a U. N. -brokered cease-fire in October 2020, a grouping of Libyan factions called the Political Forum drew up a road map that led to the creation of an interim government to run the country until the Dec. 24 election.
Those calling for a delay in the election say the mistrust between east and west remains too deep and volatile. The interim government has not been able to unify Libya’s institutions, particularly the military, dismantle militias or ensure the exit of foreign mercenaries and fighters, said one U.
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