Libyan parliament votes on new ‘roadmap’ extends mandate

Roadmap could lead to early elections in August

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Libya’s interim parliament voted on Monday to extend its mandate beyond a Feb. 7 expiry date to give a special committee time to write a new constitution seen as key to advancing the country’s transition to democracy.

Two and half years after the fall of Muammar Qaddafi, Libya’s path to democracy has been repeatedly stymied by unrest and by deadlock in the General National Congress (GNC) over the country’s messy emergence from his one-man rule.

GNC members on Monday approved a new “roadmap” that calls for early elections if a special 60-member committee fails by May to show progress toward finishing the new constitution.

If the committee advances, the GNC will stay on until December to give it time to finish the new charter before elections are called by the end of the year.

“We have issued the roadmap, giving the exact dates, and now we will leave it to the people to decide,” Saad Bensharrada, an independent GNC member said.

Many Libyans have criticized the temporary parliament for its failure to make progress since it was first elected in July 2012, and congress members often struggled to gain any popular legitimacy over their roles.

GNC members said the plan did not include any official reference to an attempt at a vote of no confidence against Prime Minister Ali Zeidan. Any specific election dates would be decided by the electoral commission, lawmakers said.

Libya’s temporary Congress has been deadlocked for months in a standoff between the leading National Forces Alliance party, and the Justice and Construction Party, the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood in Libya.

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