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Libya holds conference to salvage election hopes

DW logo DW 21/10/2021 dw.com

Rival factions met with international diplomats in Tripoli amid a fragile ceasefire. Libyan leaders hope an undisputed election will bring an end to a decade of violence and instability.

Libya hosted diplomats from regional and major world powers ahead of its presidential elections © Mahmud Turkia/AFP/Getty Images Libya hosted diplomats from regional and major world powers ahead of its presidential elections

Rival factions in Libya launched a last-ditch attempt on Thursday to shore up support for their efforts to hold democratic elections in December.

At an international conference, representatives of the legislature based in the east of the country and the High State Council that sits in the capital Tripoli met with delegates from the the United Nations as well as regional and western powers.

Opening the one-day meeting in Tripoli, Libyan Prime Minister Mohammed Dbeibeh voiced support for holding the election as scheduled.

"The conference underlines our continued support for implementing the elections, providing favourable circumstances for them and encouraging all Libyan sides to respect their results," he said.

Holding national elections on December 24 is a key provision of a UN-backed peace plan that has seen the warring factions cease hostilities for nearly a year after a decade of conflict brought on by the toppling of dictator Moammar Gadhafi in 2011.

Elections seen as key step to ending Libyan violence

The election has been viewed as a key step in efforts to end the violence by creating a new political leadership whose legitimacy is widely accepted.

Joined by officials from the UN, Germany, France, Italy, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey, among others, Dbeibeh sought to end wrangling over the constitutional basis for the election, and calls from various factions to hold the vote on different dates.

Another sticking point in the peace deal was the complete withdrawal of foreign troops and mercenaries – warring groups are backed by different foreign governments, some of whome have sent soldiers to the country. Despite agreeing last October that these fighters had three months to leave Libya, thousands still remain.

es/wd (Reuters, AP)

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