Libya’s parliament agrees to parliamentary election law

The election has been scheduled for January

Libya’s eastern-based parliament said on Monday it had agreed a law for a parliamentary election to take place a month after the presidential one planned for December 24.

The parliamentary spokesman, Abdullah Belhaiq, said the chamber had agreed each article in the law, which will keep parliament at the same number of members.

Disagreements on how voting should take place, mainly over a controversial law the parliament speaker issued for the presidential election, has raised concern it will not happen.

The UN-backed road map called for parliamentary and presidential elections on December 24 but did not specify a constitutional or legal basis for the vote.

Libya has been split since 2014 between warring eastern and western factions.

Last month, its parliament issued a law for the presidential election.

Critics said it was introduced to enable powerful figures to run for office without risking their existing positions, and that it had been passed without the necessary quorum.

The High State Council, a body that arose from a previous parliament and was given advisory powers in a 2015 political agreement, has rejected the presidential law. Some MPs said it was not voted upon properly.

Last week, the US House of Representatives passed a bill that could impose sanctions on many foreign actors supporting rival factions in Libya, should the unity government and current ceasefire fall apart.

That no-confidence vote could jeopardise the Libyan national elections in December.

Mr Belhaiq said the law agreed on Monday was voted on by 70 to 75 MPs who were present, out of about 200 elected in 2014.

He said the law was based on the existing parliamentary election rules but voting would now be for candidates rather than lists.

Egyptian President Abdel Fatah El Sisi and US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan met in Cairo last week to discuss Libya’s internationally backed political road map.

In recent weeks, Egypt has been talking with Libya’s main political players to ensure the elections are held in December.

A fair and transparent vote, Cairo and other stakeholders believe, will help end the decade-long turmoil engulfing the energy-rich nation.

Updated: October 5th 2021, 5:52 AM