Presidential election in Libya on December 24th is on the brink

TRIPOLIS (dpa-AFX) – One week before the planned presidential election in Libya, a country with civil war, doubts are growing as to whether the deadline can still be kept. Armed groups reportedly marched near key government buildings in the capital, Tripoli, on Thursday night. In the southern city of Sabha there were clashes between forces of the self-appointed Libyan National Army (LNA) headed by General Khalifa Haftar and supporters of the transitional government based in Tripoli. At least one person has been killed and two other people injured, according to medical sources.

In Libya, a new president is supposed to be elected on December 24th. Disputes that have been going on for months about the legal basis, individual candidates and the electoral process have recently become more and more acute. The electoral commission has still not published an exhaustive list of eligible candidates. As a result, they were unable to start their election campaigns around a week before the deadline.

A total of almost 100 applicants submitted documents for a candidacy. Among them is General Haftar, who tried to take Tripoli in several offensives. Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi, son of the former long-term ruler Muammar al-Gaddafi, also wants to run. He is accused of supporting the brutal crackdown on protests against his father. The planned candidacy of Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbaiba is also controversial.

A member of the Libyan electoral commission ruled out Thursday that the election could still take place as planned. An election on December 24th was “no longer possible,” said Abu Bakr Marada to the Al-Jazeera television station.

The election is linked to the hope of leading the oil-rich desert state to more political stability after years of civil war. Sections of the international community, including the United Nations and Germany, are pressing for the election date to be met.

There have been no major battles since summer 2020, and a ceasefire has been in effect since October 2020. The country is by no means pacified. There are also still thousands of foreign workers in the country./jot/DP/men

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