TUNIS (Reuters) – The U.N. Libya mission said consultative meetings with legislators about election rules would start on Tuesday even though the eastern-based parliament has not yet named members to a joint committee on the subject.
The meetings are part of an initiative by U.N. Libya adviser Stephanie Williams, backed by Western countries, to break a standoff between two rival governments in the country.
Amid civil war, Libya split in 2014 between warring eastern and western factions. The High State Council, a legislative body that backed the western side, has named its six members to the committee.
The U.N. mission said in a statement it expects the eastern-based House of Representatives to name its representatives to the committee and to “join the meeting in the coming days.”
Libya’s latest crisis comes after the collapse of a scheduled election in December, days before the vote was due to take place, amid arguments over the rules.
The election was part of a U.N.-backed peace process to end a decade of chaos since the 2011 NATO-backed uprising that ousted Muammar Gaddafi and reunify the country.
An interim unity government was installed a year ago to oversee the run-up to elections and reunify divided state institutions.
When the election collapsed, the House of Representatives parliament, based in Tobruk, in the east, said the unity government’s term had expired and it designated a new administration and set elections for next year.
However, the prime minister of the unity government said he would only relinquish power after elections, and armed forces backing each side have mobilised around Tripoli, raising fears of another conflict or a return to territorial division.
A date for a new election has not been set.
(Reporting by Angus McDowall; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)