The head of Libya's High Council of State (HCS) Khalid al-Mishri called for the presidential elections scheduled for December to be postponed for a year after the pro-putschist Gen. Khalifa Haftar parliament speaker passed an electoral law without consultations.
Under a United Nations-brokered deal between Libya's rival eastern and western camps, the war-torn country is scheduled to hold legislative and presidential polls on Dec. 24.
Earlier this month, eastern-based House of Representatives speaker Aguila Saleh ratified a law for the presidential vote, but he has come under fire for not presenting a final version to the assembly for a vote.
Saleh came under fire for trying to push through legislation favoring his eastern ally Haftar.
On Monday, head of the Tripoli-based HCS, al-Mishri, rejected legislation which he said had been passed "without a legal vote or consensus."
"We do not recognize the House of Representatives as having passed a presidential elections law," al-Mishri told journalists.
Presidential elections "would not produce stability in Libya at the present time," al-Mishri added.
He said the HCS proposed parliamentary elections on Dec. 24 as agreed at the U.N. talks, but with another year to reach an agreement on a new constitution before setting a date for presidential polls.
"Our hands reach out for dialogue, but the HoR (lower house) can't simply pass laws on its own," al-Mishri said.
Critics of Saleh's move have pointed to a clause stipulating that military officials may stand in presidential polls on condition they withdraw from their posts three months beforehand.
That would allow for a presidential run by warlord Haftar, whose forces control eastern Libya, where the parliament is based, as well as parts of the south.
Haftar reached a U.N.-brokered cease-fire with western Libyan forces last October after a yearlong assault on the capital that left thousands dead.
A yearlong lull in violence and a U.N.-led transition process have sparked hopes that Libya could move on after a decade of violence that followed the fall and killing of dictator Moammar Gadhafi in a 2011 revolt.
But analysts have warned that multiple obstacles including failure to agree on electoral law and the presence of foreign forces on both sides could still scupper chances for peace.
Haftar is accused of war crimes as he used mines that harmed civilians, which is a war crime when used indiscriminately.
Following the defeat of Haftar's forces in the western areas of Libya, the Libyan government has discovered around 300 bodies in mass graves in Tarhuna and south of Tripoli.
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