Libyan government says ready for presidential election

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Libya’s government said on Sunday it was ready to hold the country’s presidential election as scheduled on Dec. 24 despite continued uncertainty over whether the crucial vote will be held on time.

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

“The government spared no effort to support the electoral commission (HNEC). We are lucky to make December 24 a historic day,” Abu Jnah said.

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

The December 24 elections are intended to help the oil-rich North African country overcome a decade of violence.

But the process has been undermined by bitter divisions over the legal basis for the elections, their dates and who should be allowed to run, with a string of controversial figures coming forward.

“Nobody should deprive the Libyans of this historic deadline and we will not let anyone do it,” Abu Jnah told a press conference in the capital Tripoli, surrounded by several ministers.

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

Less than fifteen days before the scheduled election, the electoral campaign has not yet started, and the polling body delayed the publication of a final list of candidates on Saturday.

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

A year of relative peace in Libya has followed an October 2020 ceasefire between the warring eastern and western camps, but analysts have warned violence could easily erupt again in elections. .

An electoral law signed in September by eastern-based parliament speaker Aguila Saleh has sparked anger in the west of the country, where many accuse him of circumventing protocol and pushing through legislation favoring a race of his ally, strongman Khalifa Haftar.

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

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