Representatives of Libya's rival administrations before the start of a round of talks in the Moroccan capital Rabat, on September 30, 2021. Image Credit: AFP

RABAT: Two rival Libyan factions wound up a meeting in Morocco without any sign of agreement on a disputed electoral law, ahead of polls scheduled for December 24.

They did, however, jointly appeal for international support for the oil-rich North African country’s political process following years of unrest.

Representatives of the upper house, based in Tripoli in Libya’s west, held two days of talks in Morocco’s capital Rabat with the Libyan parliament, whose seat is in the eastern city of Tobruk.

“We call on the international community to support the electoral process in Libya... and to send international observers to guarantee that this important event takes place smoothly,” said Al Hadi Ali Al Saghir, a member of parliament, at the close on Friday.

Libya saw a decade of war following its Nato-backed 2011 revolt which toppled dictator Muammar Gaddafi, leaving the country split between rival administrations backed by foreign powers and myriad militias.

Hopes of stability had followed a United Nations-led peace process and a ceasefire in October last year.

A western-based unity government took office in March with a mandate to prepare for December elections, but negotiations over relevant legislation have raised doubts over the UN-led process and plans for the ballot.

Al Saghir made no mention of agreement with his western colleagues over an electoral law.

Germany and the United States have been among nations seeking to ensure that the December legislative and presidential vote goes ahead.

The United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), which attended the Morocco talks, had urged the two delegations “to use this opportunity and live up to their historical responsibilities and move forward with completing the legislative framework for elections”.

Parliamentary speaker Aguila Saleh last month ratified legislation governing the presidential ballot but critics said he bypassed due process to favour his ally, the eastern strongman Khalifa Haftar.

Parliament then passed a no-confidence vote in the unity government of interim Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah.

The upper house based in the capital rejected the vote, saying it violated established procedures, laying bare once more the extent of divisions between the country’s east and west.

In Morocco, however, discussion took place “in conditions of understanding and consensus”, according to Al Saghir.