Libya’s December 24 National Election Gets Backing

Several international powers and Libya’s prime minister, Abdulhamid Dbeibah, endorsed plans on Thursday for a national election on Dec. 24 as envisaged in a U.N.-backed peace plan aimed at resolving years of turmoil and division.

According to Dbeibah, who spoke at the conference for Libya’s stabilization, it is possible to end the country’s crisis that has engulfed it since Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown by an uprising supported by NATO.

“We support the efforts of the higher election committee to hold (the vote) on the planned date. I call for wide and effective participation of Libyans in the elections,” Dbeibah said.

It has been argued that the election process was vital to ending a decade of violence by creating a new government that is widely recognized as legitimate.

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At the conference, which included foreign ministers from France, Italy, and Arab states along with U.S. and UN officials, the final communique stressed the importance of confidence-building measures for a fair, transparent and inclusive vote on Dec. 24.

Conflicts over constitutional grounds for an election, rules governing voting and questions about its credibility have threatened to unravel the peace process.

The United Nations process has called for presidential and parliamentary elections for Dec. 24.

Although parliament has issued a law for the presidential election on that date, it has also issued another law stating that parliamentary elections will be held later. Other Libyan political institutions have rejected the parliament’s proposals.

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A conference on Libya in Paris next month will give a final international push to have elections by the end of the year and to endorse the departure of foreign forces.

Jean-Yves le Drian, France’s Foreign Minister, said the conference in Paris will “provide the last international impetus needed in support of the elections at the end of the year…(and) endorse the Libyan plan for the departure of foreign forces and mercenaries and support its implementation, to put an end to foreign interference.”

Any move to hold an election without widespread acceptance by rival political institutions could lead factions to reject the vote, potentially triggering another violent schism.

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