Libya elections

Three months in advance of planned national elections in Libya

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Eighty-nine of the 113 MPs in Libya’s eastern-based parliament in the eastern city of Tobruk voted on Tuesday (Sept. 23) to withdraw confidence from the Tripoli-based administration of interim Prime Minister Abdulhamid Dbeibah,  parliamentary spokesman Abdullah Belhaiq said on Facebook. He did not give further details.

The High Council of State, the parliament’s upper house in Tripoli, criticized the move, with its spokesman Muhammad Abdel Nasser taking to Twitter saying it “rejects the procedure of withdrawing confidence from the national unity government, and considers it void for violating the constitutional declaration and the political agreement, and considers everything that results from them null.”

The United Nations mission in Libya  (UNSMIL) also expressed concerns about the no-confidence vote, saying the government “remains the legitimate Government up until it is replaced by another Government through a regular process, following the elections.”

Dbeibah’s transitional administration, the product of UN-led talks in Tunis and Geneva,
took office in February this year with a mandate to guide the oil-rich North African country to elections on December 24.

That came after an October ceasefire between western Libyan forces and Libya’s eastern strongman and commander of the Libyan National Army, Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar.

In 2014, eastern and western factions split Libya in two in a civil war, with an internationally recognised government in Tripoli and a rival administration backed by the House of Representatives in the east.

Libyan media said  Haftar has paved the way to take part in December’s proposed presidential election after saying he would step down from his military role for three months.

This month, parliamentary speaker Aguila Saleh said the House of Representatives had passed a law for the presidential election, though it did not hold a final vote on the bill.

The validity of that law was promptly challenged by the High Council of State in Tripoli, which produced its own, alternative election law. The House of Representatives has not yet produced a law for a parliamentary election.

The elections have been seen by many as a step forward to end the country’s division but disagreements now rage over the legal basis for the votes and the laws that will govern them.

With reporting by Al Jazeera, AFP, Reuters