High State Council, an advisory body, proposes delaying December presidential elections by two months, the latest dispute over the vote intended to help end 10 years of violence in the north African country.

HCS, which is equivalent to a senate, suggests the presidential vote could take place in February to avoid further threatening the country's political transition.
HCS, which is equivalent to a senate, suggests the presidential vote could take place in February to avoid further threatening the country's political transition. (AFP)

A Libyan political body has called for a December 24 presidential election to be delayed to February amid growing jostling over the rules and legal basis of a vote aimed at ending a decade of instability.

"Pushing forward with presidential elections without any formal constitutional or legal rules, amid tension, mistrust among (Libyan) actors and foreign interference, could destroy the entire political process," High State Council (HSC), an advisory body, said in a statement on Wednesday.

Omar Boshah, first deputy president of the Council, told journalists in Tripoli that if the vote goes ahead on December 24, "the results will not be accepted".

HSC was installed through a 2015 peace agreement but not recognised by all other Libyan political entities, comes less than three weeks before the vote.

It said the presidential and parliamentary elections should both take place on the same day, as was originally demanded by the UN roadmap.

In Libya's complex, fractured political environment the extent of the HSC's powers is debated, but its statement adds to the doubts surrounding the election.

The electoral commission has not yet announced a final list of candidates for the presidential race following a fractious process of court appeals over the eligibility of the 98 who registered to run.

The arguments over some highly divisive candidates, including major figures from Libya's conflict, have already threatened to torpedo the contest.

Deeper disagreements

Those disputes revealed deeper disagreements over the basis for a voting process that has already diverged from both the UN-backed roadmap that set the vote and a controversial election law issued in September by the parliament speaker.

The roadmap envisaged the election as a way to end disputes over the legitimacy of Libya's rival political bodies, which were formed during earlier transitional periods following the 2011 revolution that ousted Muammar Gaddafi.

The UN is supporting the HSC which sees the House of Representatives (HoR) based in Benghazi as illegitimate.

Some Libyans fear the disputes over the current election process could trigger a similar crisis to that surrounding the 2014 vote when warlord Khalifa Haftar-led forces aimed to topple country's government in Tripoli.

Laws issued in September and October by HoR speaker Aguila Saleh, a presidential candidate, set a first round presidential vote for December 24 but delayed the parliamentary vote.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies