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Why Libyan Elections Probably Won't Happen This Year

Jun 4, 2018 | 09:00 GMT
In this photograph, Libyans wave their national flag at the port of Benghazi during a ceremony marking its reopening in October 2017.

Libyans wave their national flag at the port of Benghazi during a ceremony marking its reopening in October 2017. Rebel groups occupying the eastern city had forced its closure for three years. Benghazi was the cradle of the popular revolt that ended the regime of Moammar Gadhafi in 2011. 

(ABDULLAH DOMA/AFP/Getty Images)

Almost a year after French President Emmanuel Macron tried unsuccessfully to guide Libya through its political chaos and to elections, he has launched another attempt. On May 29 in Paris, Macron hosted four rival Libyan leaders in hopes of bridging the gaps among them, just as he'd tried to do in July 2017. This time, the Libyans agreed to determine by Sept. 16 which version of the constitution the elections would be held under and to hold presidential and parliamentary balloting -- the first since June 2014 -- by Dec. 10. But the same rifts that existed during the Paris negotiations last year remain today, and the same obstacles to organizing elections are also still present. The chances for success are low, and elections pushed by the West could end up being rejected by large swaths of the country. They could also lead to a more unstable Libya....

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