Libya cancels presidential election on Friday

A parliamentary committee said the vote was "impossible". As an alternative, the country's election commission proposed January 24.

Presidential elections scheduled for December 24 in Libya have been cancelled.

The legislature on the committee overseeing the vote concluded on Wednesday that it was "impossible" to hold the vote in time.

"After consulting the technical, legal and security reports, we will inform you of the impossibility of holding elections," MP Al Hadi al-Sagir wrote to President Agila Saleh.

The Supreme National Electoral Commission (HNEC) has proposed postponing the first ballot until January 24, according to a statement on its Facebook page.

Why was the vote in Libya postponed?

The commission dissolved the electoral commission late Tuesday and shifted responsibility for voting in parliament.

It never published a final list of candidates, many of which were highly controversial.

In total, nearly 100 people are running as candidates in the deeply divided and war-torn country.

Other obstacles include disputed election laws, clashes between armed groups, the long gap between the country's east and west and the presence of thousands of foreign fighters.

What does this mean for the UN peace process?

Friday's election is set to mark a new beginning for Libya a year after a landmark ceasefire.

The cancellation of the presidential election is a major obstacle to a peace process aimed at ending a decade of chaos following the 2011 uprising that toppled late dictator Muammar al-Gaddafi.

Many Libyans signed up to vote, and some lawmakers called for protests after they were cancelled.

The status of the transitional government, which was formed in March as part of the UN peace process, is also in jeopardy.

US Ambassador to Libya Richard Norland said the delay was disappointing.

He called on parties to "quickly remove all legal and political barriers to holding elections, including finalizing lists of presidential candidates". Norland said elections should be free and fair.

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