By Muhammad Artimah
TRIPOLI, Libya (AA) – The United States on Wednesday expressed its disappointment over the expected delay of Libya’s presidential elections.
“The United States shares the concern and disappointment of the vast majority of Libyans who expect to have the opportunity to vote for their country’s future,” US Special Envoy and Ambassador to Libya Richard Norland said in a statement.
The envoy called on the Libyan leaders to “expeditiously address all legal and political obstacles to hold elections, including finalizing the list of presidential candidates.”
Earlier on Wednesday, Libya’s High National Elections Commission proposed postponing the Dec. 24 presidential elections for one month, pushing the vote date to Jan. 24, 2022.
The commission cited obstacles hindering holding the polls on time and called on the House of Representatives (parliament) to work to remove the current obstacles facing the ballot.
Norland warned all Libyan sides against “unilateral actions or armed deployments that risk escalation and unintended consequences detrimental to the security and safety of Libyans.”
On Tuesday, the areas of Ain Zara, Al-Sidra, and Al-Shok Road in the capital, Tripoli, witnessed a mobilization of militias and the erection of barriers by security and military authorities affiliated with the Libyan government, according to eyewitnesses and social media posts.
The US diplomat urged all Libyan citizens to be “vigilant about the spread of disinformation that only advantages those who wish to disrupt Libya’s future progress.”
Libyan rival parties have been in disagreement over the voting timetable for the presidential and parliamentary elections to be held simultaneously or one after the other.
Libyans hope that the upcoming elections will contribute to ending an armed conflict that has plagued the oil-rich country for years.
*Writing by Ibrahim Mukhtar