Lack of funds could put more than half of Libya local elections on hold

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At least 69 municipal councils out of 120 in Libya may not hold elections in March due to a lack of funding by the UN-backed government according to the head of the elections committee .

Libyan authorities allowed municipal elections in 2013 in a bid to end a decades-long legacy of centralisation of administration and help communities manage local affairs.

Degrading security conditions after the toppling of Muammar Qaddafi and irregular funding hindered the process.

Holding elections to renew the municipal councils requires at least 50 million Libyan dinars ($36 million), Salem Bentahia, head of the Central Committee for Municipal Councils Elections told Reuters.

For now, the committee has only received 30% of budget, he said.

Without government funds the committee is unable to launch awareness programmes on the importance of municipal elections, Bentahia said.



Officials at the internationally recognised government in Tripoli were not immediately available for comment.

Constituency registration has been reopened with more than 800,000 voters on the list including 504,136 women, according to official figures.

The UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) called on government to provide the necessary funding for municipal council voting to happen.

UNSMIL along with the United Nations Development Programme has been offering technical and logistical support to the elections committee since March 2018.

The oil-rich country plunged into chaos after a NATO-backed uprising that toppled Qaddafi in 2011.

The country is divided between rival governments and military factions in the east and west since 2014, causing political deadlock and an economic crisis.