Libya calls off long-awaited presidential election

Security officers stand in front of the High National Election Commission building in Benghazi, Libya, on December 16, 2021. (Photo by Reuters)

Libya has called off a presidential election after the parliament’s election committee ruled out the possibility of holding the vote on Friday.

The parliament announced on Wednesday that the presidential election planned for Friday would not go ahead. It did not set a new date for the election.

The announcement came after a parliamentary committee tasked with overseeing Libya’s electoral process said it had become “impossible” to hold the vote in two days as scheduled.

“After consulting the technical, judicial, and security reports, we inform you of the impossibility of holding the elections on the date of December 24, 2021, provided for by the electoral law,” the chairman of the committee wrote to the head of parliament on Wednesday.

The decision was made after the head of Libya’s High National Electoral Commission ordered the dissolution of the electoral committees nationwide. It said it was the responsibility of the Libyan parliament to make the announcement of a postponement of the vote.

The parliament’s statement also said that the government’s mandate would expire on Friday.

As some members of the house have called for a new government to be installed, some main factions and political institutions may stick with the government, which is also recognized by the United Nations (UN).

The interim government was formed in February to take the country through to elections, but the election’s collapse, which was widely expected, has now left an internationally-backed peace process in chaos and the fate of the interim government in doubt.

Many are now concerned that a looming political vacuum will lead to renewed violence and economic chaos in the North African country.

Libya has been beset by violence and chaos since the overthrow and killing of its long-serving ruler Muammar Gaddafi following a bombing campaign by the US-led NATO military alliance in 2011. The resulting chaos and factional divisions then escalated into a regional proxy war fueled by foreign powers, who poured weapons and mercenaries into the country.

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