Eastern Libyan commander announces ‘final opportunity’ to hold elections

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The Libyan National Army (LNA) of eastern commander Khalifa Haftar on Saturday announced “a final opportunity” to draw up a road map for elections, Libyan al-Hadath TV reported, a year to the day after rival factions agreed to hold the polls.

Many Libyans believe their political leaders are unwilling to find a way out of the endless political logjam because elections could push them all from power.

“The General Command (of LNA) announces a final opportunity through which it will draw a road map and hold elections,” Haftar was quoted by the TV channel as saying.

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He addressed Libyans in the second largest city of Benghazi, home to his forces, on the 71st anniversary of independence.

After a 2020 ceasefire, the rival eastern and western sides agreed to hold elections on December 24, 2021, and installed a new unity government that was meant to reunify divided national institutions. But the process fell apart.

Libya has had little peace since the 2011 NATO-backed uprising that ousted Muammar Gaddafi and led to a 2014 split between the warring eastern and western factions.

Haftar waged war on factions in the west after 2014, including a 14-month offensive to capture Tripoli which was repelled by the internationally recognized government.

In a statement, the UN special envoy to Libya, Abdoulaye Bathily, encouraged Libyan leaders “to agree on a solution based on a national compromise and avoid escalatory action that would threaten Libya’s already fragile stability and unity.”

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