Libya presidential poll on Friday ‘impossible’

Libyans have been registering to vote in a poll that has long been marred by uncertainty

Libya’s election commission has called for the country’s first presidential poll, due to take place on Friday, to be postponed for a month.

It proposed the new date of 24 January after “liaising” with parliament, the commission said.

A parliamentary committee had earlier said that it would be “impossible” to hold elections on Friday.

The run-up to the poll has been marred by disputes over the eligibility of candidates and growing security fears.

Libya has been in turmoil since long-serving ruler Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown and killed in 2011.

The UN and Western powers had hoped that the election would bolster efforts to achieve peace and democracy in Libya – a strategically important country that is a major oil producer and a transit point for migrants to Europe.

US ambassador to Libya Richard Norland said the US shared the disappointment of Libyans who wanted to vote.

He said Libyan leaders should “expeditiously address all legal and political obstacles to hold elections, including finalising the list of presidential candidates”.

The electoral commission had rejected the candidacy of Col Gaddafi’s son, Saif al-Islam, but his lawyer said a court had overturned its decision.

There was no clarity either on whether military strongman Gen Khalifa Haftar could run for the presidency.

Military prosecutors said the electoral commission should stop processing his application until he was questioned over accusations of human rights abuses.

Last month, a court in Misrata in western Libya sentenced him to death in absentia for bombing a military college in 2019.

There are concerns about security in the capital, Tripoli, where armed groups took up positions in suburbs around the city on Tuesday.

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On Monday, four oilfields in the south were closed.

Source: BBC