Libyan rivals agree to hold elections on Dec. 10

4 Libyan parties met in Paris on Tuesday
PARIS: Four Libyan parties on Tuesday agreed on finalizing and adopting a constitution by Sept. 16 and on holding presidential and parliamentary elections on Dec. 10, 2018.
Taher el-Sonni, an adviser to the head of Libya’s Tripoli-based UN-backed unity government Fayez al-Sarraj made the announcement on his Twitter account following a UN-sponsored international summit, hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris, to help resolve the political deadlock in Libya.
Sarraj, eastern-based military commander Khalifa Haftar and the heads of two parliamentary assemblies attended the talks, which aim to draft a roadmap towards elections.
The parties also vouched to support the Cairo initiative to “unify Libya’s military”.
Paris has invited 19 countries — including the UN Security Council’s five permanent members, Italy, Turkey, Algeria, Morocco, Egypt, Tunisia, Chad, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Kuwait — to attend Tuesday’s summit at the Elysee Palace.
“The parties have committed to set the constitutional basis for elections and adopt the necessary electoral laws by September 16, 2018, and hold parliamentary and presidential elections on December 10, 2018,” read the eight-point joint declaration revealed at the end of the summit.
“Libyan leaders commit to accept the results of elections, and ensure appropriate funds and strong security arrangements are in place. Those who violate or obstruct the electoral process will be held accountable,” it said.
The declaration added that “any obstruction or interference with the voting process will not be tolerated, and those responsible will be held accountable.”
– ‘Phasing out parallel government’
Security forces will be “responsible for safeguarding the electoral process,” it said, adding Libyan leaders commit to work on “phasing out parallel government” and on “the unifying of the Libyan Central Bank and other institutions.”
French President Emmanuel Macron hailed the agreement as a “crucial step” for the war-battered country and said this was “the first time these Libyan leaders accepted to work together and approved a joint declaration.”
“Now we have clear commitments for the country, an approved calendar,” Macron told a joint news conference with the Libyan parties in Paris.
Sarraj said he was happy with the outcome of the meeting and was keen to see the agreement ratified by all stakeholders.
“We reaffirm the existence and the need for a constitutional basis to organize an election and the need for everyone to work hand-in-hand to make sure the elections are a success,” he said.
Libya has been dogged by turmoil since 2011, when a bloody NATO-backed uprising led to the death of President Muammar Gaddafi after more than four decades in power.
Since then, Libya’s stark political divisions have yielded two rival seats of power — one in Tobruk and another in Tripoli — and a host of heavily-armed militia groups.–AA

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