Libya: Presidential elections are postponed

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Armed groups deployed in a suburb of Tripoli today, forcing schools in the area to close and the UN to express its deep concern, as among other things, Friday’s presidential election is expected to be postponed.

Manul, the UN mission, said in a statement that it was “concerned about security developments” in the Libyan capital. “The mobilization of forces that are close to different groups is causing tensions and increasing the risk of conflicts that could escalate into a conflict,” he warned. “Any dispute over political or military issues must be resolved through dialogue, especially at a time when the country is going through a difficult and complicated electoral process, the aim of which is to lead to a peaceful (political) transition,” Manul insisted.

Earlier, photos posted on social networking sites showed vehicles with machine guns and a tank in a neighborhood near a campus. Roads were blocked with sandbags and roadblocks were guarded by gunmen.

The University of Tripoli was forced to close its gates due to this situation in the districts of Ain Zara and Fornaz. According to local media, many schools in these neighborhoods in the southern suburbs of the city have also decided, for precautionary reasons, to close.

According to the testimonies collected by the French Agency, there were no clashes or exchanges of fire. A correspondent reported that the situation was easing in the afternoon, as most roads were open to traffic and the number of gunmen had dropped.

Authorities did not comment on the move, three days before the crucial December 24 presidential election. The postponement of the elections is considered almost certain, although there is no official announcement at the moment.

Meanwhile, two candidates from Western Libya visited Benghazi today, where they met with the strong man of Eastern Libya, Khalifa Haftar, who is also claiming the presidency of the country.

The two candidates, the powerful former Interior Minister Fati Basaga and the former Deputy Prime Minister Ahmed Meitig, arrived this morning at Benina Airport, near Benghazi, the largest city in Cyrenaica. A Basaga adviser said they were to meet “with MPs, political leaders and tribal leaders”, arguing that the aim of this rare move to Benghazi was to “break down the pre-election obstacles and show that it is possible to unite”. the country.

The two met with General Haftar, who de facto controls eastern and part of southern Libya. Haftar also met with other candidates from eastern and southern Libya.

It was not immediately clear how long these contacts lasted.

Ahmed Meitig said that after Benghazi, the candidates will go to other cities in Eastern Libya.

Between April 2019 and June 2020, General Haftar tried in vain to occupy Tripoli. The city of Mizurata, 200 kilometers from the capital, home to Fati Basaga and Ahmed Meitig, has sent large numbers of fighters to fight to repel Haftar’s attack.

Last summer the two sides reached a ceasefire agreement and then, in early 2021, a new government was formed to lead the country to presidential and parliamentary elections.

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