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Libya’s rivals fail to reach deal in election talks

AP – Rival Libyan factions failed to reach an agreement after wrapping up a third round of United Nations (UN)-mediated talks in Egypt, the United Nations (UN) said yesterday, further complicating international efforts to find a way out of the country’s decade-old chaos.

According to the UN special adviser on Libya Stephanie Williams, lawmakers from Libya’s east-based Parliament and the High Council of State concluded their final round of negotiations on constitutional amendments for elections on Sunday in Cairo without a breakthrough.

The talks, which started on June 12, sought to establish a constitutional framework for elections in Libya, but the two sides failed to agree on “the measures governing the transitional period” leading to the vote, William said in a statement.

She called on influential Parliament Speaker Aguila Saleh and head of the Tripoli-based council Khaled al-Meshri to convene within 10 days to try and bridge the gaps between the two sides. She did not elaborate.

Libyan media reports claimed that the main contested topic was the criteria for a presidential candidacy. The Tripoli-based council insisted on banning military personal from running for the country’s top post – apparently a move directed at commander Khalifa Hifter, a divisive military leader. Hifter announced his bid in elections slated for last December. That vote was not held because of myriad issues, including controversial hopefuls and disputes about election laws.

During the talks in Cairo, the east-based lawmakers called for allowing military personnel to run in a subsequent vote.

The failure to hold the vote in December was a major blow to international efforts to end a decade of chaos in Libya.