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ROME/TRIPOLI, Conditions in Libya are too unstable to hold elections, Prime Minister Fayez Seraj said, casting doubts on a French-led push for a vote in December which aims to end years of turmoil and unify the North African country.
French President Emmanuel Macron hosted a conference in May where rival Libyan factions agreed to work with the United Nations for a national election by Dec 10.
Libya splintered following the 2011 NATO-backed revolt that toppled Muammar Gaddafi, and since 2014 has been divided between competing political and military groups based in Tripoli and the east.
“You can not vote with instability in the streets … it is necessary that everyone accepts the result of the ballot. We need shared rules,” Seraj, who leads the U.N.-brokered transitional government based in Tripoli, said in an interview with Italian daily Corriere della Sera.
Armed groups have vowed to resume hostilities if talks to be hosted by U.N. Special Envoy Ghassan Salame do not result in a lasting settlement.
Seraj has close relations with Italy.
His main rival, military commander Khalifa Haftar, is aligned with a government based in the east and is seen as closer to France.
Seraj also said factions would need to agree on a constitution before any vote is held.
“We had talked about elections in Paris, but the constitutional document, which is ready but not approved, must first be voted on,” Seraj said.
“Unfortunately, the parliament of Tobruk has not yet examined it. Without the constitution, how can one go to a national vote?”
Meanwhile, state-owned General Electricity Company announced that power circuit in south of the capital Tripoli was damaged by renewed clashes, a few days after the fighting parties signed a UN-brokered peace agreement.
“Al-Hadba district’s southern circuit No. 1 was hit due to armed clashes that took place in the capital Tripoli last night, after great effort to maintain some circuits by the company in order to stabilize the power network,” the company said in a statement in TRIPOLI.
The company warned against complete collapse of the public power network if the violence continues in the city.
Libya’s Ministry of Transport’s Airport Department announced earlier on Wednesday that Tripoli’s M’etiga International Airport was closed due to indiscriminate shelling.
Tripoli recently witnessed violent clashes between government forces and the so-called seventh brigade militia from the nearby city of Tarhuna, some 80 km southeast of Tripoli, killing 78 people and injuring 210 others.
The UN Support Mission in Libya brokered a peace agreement between the fighting parties last week that ended the violence. However, the seventh brigade threatened to break the truce and resume fighting to “eliminate crime and gangs in Tripoli.”
The UN-backed government rejected on late Tuesday the threat of the seventh brigade, confirming keenness to maintain security and stability in the capital.
The UN Mission also called on the parties of the peace agreement to “refrain from issuing provocative statements.”
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK