Libya’s parliament approves key election laws

Libya’s eastern-based parliament passed a new electoral law on Monday, bringing the country one step closer to reunification after a decade of intermittent civil war.

The law provides a legal framework for the planned national parliamentary and presidential elections to be held on December 24.

A spokesman for the Tobruk-based House of Representatives announced the approval of the law on Twitter.

“With this, Parliament will have completed the necessary legislation to host the presidential and parliamentary elections,” Abdullah Bliheg wrote.

However, the country has major hurdles ahead of it. The country’s transitional government is plowing ahead despite a vote of no confidence last month by the Tobruk-based parliament.

Libya has been embroiled in civil war since a popular uprising in 2011 supported by NATO dictator Moammar Gaddhafi.

Violence flared up again in 2019, when former General Khalifa Hifter launched an offensive against the UN-recognized government of Libya, which is based in Tripoli.

Hifter’s offensive drew thousands of foreign fighters into the conflict, including Syrian fighters on both sides and Russian Wagner mercenaries in support of Hifter.

A United Nations-backed ceasefire, backed by US diplomatic support, led to a cessation of hostilities last year after Hifter’s offensive stalled on the ground.

In March, a interim unity government was installed in accordance with the UN reconciliation process. But political tug-of-war and jockeying for positions threatens to derail the process.

Western diplomats led by the US continues to put pressure on Libyan officials to stick to the election timeline in the hope that the country can be reunited.

US officials are concerned that Russia’s military presence in Libya could further destabilize developing countries in the region and affect US strategic interests.

The US supports the UN’s call for foreign fighters to leave Libya, but US officials increasingly see the prospect as unlikely before December 24.

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