Western powers demand Libya decide on elections without delay

EU, US urge authorities to maintain momentum to goals of holding credible elections to elect unified government.

Western powers demand Libya decide on elections without delay

European countries and the US urged Libyan authorities to decide Friday on a final date for elections without delay.  

The demand came two days after crucial presidential and parliamentary elections were canceled.

France, Germany, Italy, UK, and the US appealed to authorities in a statement “to respect the aspirations of the people for prompt elections by swiftly determining a final date for the polling and issuing the final list of presidential candidates without delay.”

The electoral commission canceled elections Wednesday that were scheduled for Dec 24, citing a lack of preparedness and disagreements.

Voting has been postponed until January.

The statement said it was important to maintain momentum for the goal of holding “free, fair and credible elections” and to elect a representative and unified government.

The much-awaited polls were detrimental to mark the first step of the war torn country toward political stability.

Since a NATO-led intervention in 2011 overthrew Muammar Gaddafi's regime, Libya has spiraled into chaos and civil war controlled by rebel armies and foreign fighters.

In March, an interim government was sworn in -- replacing the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) controlling Tripoli and the Western region, and the eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA), led by warlord Khalifa Haftar.

Although Libyans were eagerly awaiting the elections that could pave the road for political transition, various political factions and presidential candidates had disputes and disagreements on the mechanisms of the electoral process and the conduct of elections.

Western powers said they were ready to hold to account those threatening the stability or undermining the political and electoral process in Libya, by designating UN sanctions.

They vowed to uphold the "UN-facilitated, Libyan-led and owned political process."