Libya’s election commission has called for a month’s postponement of the country’s first presidential election, which was set to take place on Friday.
The commission proposed the new date of January 24 after “consulting” with parliament, according to the commission.
A parliamentary committee had previously stated that holding elections on Friday would be “impossible.”
The run-up to the election has been marred by disagreements over candidate eligibility and rising security concerns.
Libya has been in turmoil since Muammar Gaddafi, the country’s long-serving ruler, was deposed and killed in 2011.
The United Nations and Western powers had hoped that the election would boost efforts to bring ‘peace and democracy’ to Libya, a strategically important country that is a major oil producer and a transit point for migrants seeking asylum in Europe.
Richard Norland, the US ambassador to Libya, said the US shared the “disappointment of Libyans who wanted to vote.”
“All legal and political obstacles to holding elections, including finalizing the list of presidential candidates,” he said Libyan leaders should “address expeditiously.”
The electoral commission had rejected Col Gaddafi’s son, Saif al-Islam, as a candidate, but his lawyer claimed that the decision had been overturned by a court.
There was also no word on whether Gen Khalifa Haftar, the country’s military strongman, could run for president.
According to military prosecutors, the electoral commission should hold off on processing his application until he is interrogated about allegations of human rights violations.
He was sentenced to death in absentia by a court in Misrata, western Libya, last month for bombing a military college in 2019.
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Security concerns have been raised in Tripoli’s capital, where armed groups took up positions in the city’s suburbs on Tuesday.
Four oilfields in the south were shut down on Monday.