Libya PM calls for elec­tions in March

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

The head of Libya’s UN-backed unity gov­ern­ment has an­nounced a new po­lit­i­cal roadmap for his vi­o­lencewracked coun­try, with pres­i­den­tial and par­lia­men­tary elec­tions to be held in March 2018. Po­lit­i­cal ri­valry and fight­ing be­tween mili­tias have ham­pered Libya’s ef­forts to re­cover from the chaos that fol­lowed the 2011 upris­ing that top­pled and killed long­time dic­ta­tor Moamer Kad­hafi. The Gov­ern­ment of Na­tional Ac­cord has been strug­gling to as­sert its author­ity since it be­gan work in Tripoli in March 2016, with a ri­val ad­min­is­tra­tion based in the re­mote east re­fus­ing to rec­og­nize it.

“Pres­i­den­tial and par­lia­men­tary elec­tions will be or­ga­nized in March 2018,” GNA head Fayez al-Sar­raj said in a speech broad­cast on tele­vi­sion late on Satur­day. He said the polls aimed to elect a new pres­i­dent and par­lia­ment whose man­date will be of “three years max­i­mum or un­til the draft­ing and or­ga­ni­za­tion of a ref­er­en­dum for a con­sti­tu­tion”. Sar­raj spoke halt­ingly and sounded tired as he de­liv­ered his speech flanked by Libya’s flag and be­hind him the slo­gan “Libya, to­gether to­wards rec­on­cil­i­a­tion and con­struc­tion”.

He out­lined a nine-point roadmap which he said would help shake off years of se­cu­rity prob­lems, di­vi­sion and eco­nomic woes, and was aimed at re­launch­ing the Libya Po­lit­i­cal Agree­ment. The UN-backed LPA agreed in 2015 by ri­val Libyan groups paved the way for the cre­ation of the GNA. Sar­raj said the GNA would re­main as a care­taker gov­ern­ment un­til af­ter the elec­tions. He said the lack of se­cu­rity in Libya was the most “thorny” is­sue fac­ing the coun­try, and re­gret­ted that his pre­de­ces­sors did not dis­arm mili­tias af­ter the 2011 re­volt. “We are now har­vest­ing the fruits of th­ese mis­takes,” said Sar­raj. “The time has come for unity and the res­cu­ing of our na­tion.” Sar­raj con­tin­ues to face op­po­si­tion de­spite re­ceiv­ing the back­ing of many po­lit­i­cal and mil­i­tary lead­ers.—AFP

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