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UN envoy unveils details of initiative for holding Libya elections

UN envoy to Libya Abdoulaye Bathily on Saturday unveiled details of his initiative for holding the country’s stalled elections this year.

Last month, Bathily announced a new initiative to break the deadlock in Libya by creating a steering committee to hold the polls.

Addressing a press conference in the capital Tripoli, Bathily said the initiative aims to expand dialogue between Libyan parties to break the current stalemate.

“Successive interim arrangements, endless transition governments, legislative bodies whose terms of office have expired are a source of instability,” Bathily said.

The UN envoy said a “high-level team will be chosen by the Libyan representatives.” He added that the UN mission in Libya will facilitate the negotiations to reach a compromise for holding the polls.

“There is no reason to delay the elections further…With goodwill and determination, a clear roadmap for elections might be developed by mid-June,” he said.

The UN envoy noted that the dispute still exists over the conditions for running for the presidential elections, despite the announcement by the Speakers of East Libya-based House of Representatives and the Tripoli-based High Council of State about reaching an agreement on the constitutional declaration.

Oil-rich Libya has remained in turmoil since 2011, when longtime ruler Muammar Gaddafi was ousted after four decades in power.

The situation has worsened since last year when the Libyan parliament appointed a new government led by former Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha, but the head of the Tripoli-based government, Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh, said he will cede authority only to a government that comes through an “elected parliament,” raising fears that Libya could slip back into a civil war.

* Ikram Imane Kouachi contributed to this report

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