Libya ready to hold presidential elections, government says

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Libya is ready to hold the presidential election as scheduled on December 24, the government said on Sunday.

“We are ready for the elections,” said Ramadan Abu Jnah, acting head of government since Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah announced he would run for president.

“The government has spared no effort to support the Election Commission (HNEC). We are fortunate to make December 24 a historic day,” Abu Jnah said.

Libya descended into chaos following a NATO-backed revolt in 2011 that overthrew and killed dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

The Dec. 24 polls aim to help the oil-rich North African country overcome a decade of violence.

But the process was undermined by bitter divisions over the legal basis of the elections, their dates and who should be allowed to run, with a series of controversial figures stepping forward.

“No one should deprive the Libyans of this historic deadline and we will not let anyone do it,” Abu Jnah said at a press conference in the capital Tripoli, surrounded by several ministers.

He said the transitional executive was “ready to hand over power to an elected government.”

Interior Minister Khaled Mazen called for the presidential poll to be held on time and said his ministry had “done its job of protecting and securing polling centers” despite “obstacles”.

Rules governing the ballot – which would be the first time that a Libyan head of state has been chosen by universal suffrage – requires the commission to publish the list of candidates two weeks after final court rulings and appeals related to candidacies.

On December 2, a Libyan court reinstated Seif al-Islam Gaddafi, a son of assassinated dictator Muammar Gaddafi, as a candidate.

The day before, a Tripoli appeals court rejected the petitions against the candidacy of interim Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah, who was responsible for leading the Tripoli-based unity government established in March and responsible for leading the country to elections. presidential and legislative.

Another main competitor is General Khalifa Haftar, leader of the illegitimate forces based in the east.

The coordinator of the UN mission in Libya, Raisedon Zenenga, met on Saturday with Emad al-Sayeh, the head of the electoral commission, to discuss “the current state and the trajectory of the electoral process”, the statement said. UN mission.

He commended the committee for the progress it had made in technical preparations, but “underlined the importance of addressing emerging political and technical challenges that could disrupt progress.”

A year of relative peace in Libya followed an October 2020 ceasefire between the UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) and forces loyal to coup leader General Khalifa Haftar, but analysts have warned that violence could easily resurface during elections. .

An electoral law signed in September by the speaker of the eastern parliament, Aguila Saleh, has sparked anger in the west of the country, where many accuse him of breaking protocol and passing legislation favoring the candidacy of his ally, Haftar.

The following month, the eastern-based House of Representatives said that a legislative vote also scheduled for December 24 was postponed until January.

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