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Published: Monday March 31, 2014 MYT 3:10:02 AM
Updated: Monday March 31, 2014 MYT 3:11:15 AM

Libyan parliament passes law to organize new elections

Boys, carrying flags, sit on a tank in Benghazi, March 19, 2014, during the third anniversary of an attack by pro-Gaddafi forces on Benghazi. REUTERS/Esam Omran Al-Fetori

Boys, carrying flags, sit on a tank in Benghazi, March 19, 2014, during the third anniversary of an attack by pro-Gaddafi forces on Benghazi. REUTERS/Esam Omran Al-Fetori

TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Libyan lawmakers approved a new election law on Sunday, paving the way to call general elections later this year.

Last month, the General National Congress (GNC) assembly agreed to hold early elections, in an apparent effort to assuage ordinary Libyans angry over political chaos in the country nearly three years after the fall of Muammar Gaddafi.

Deputies had initially agreed to extend their term after the original mandate ran out on February 7 to allow a special committee time to draft a new constitution but their move sparked protests.

Parliament approved a law to organize new elections. Candidates have to run as individuals, banning parties from drawing up lists. It is now up to the elections commission to set a date.

The GNC is deadlocked between Islamists and nationalists, compounding a sense of chaos as Libya's fledgling army tries to assert itself against unruly ex-rebels, tribal groups and Islamist militants.

Many people in the OPEC nation blame mainly the congress infighting for a lack of progress in the transition towards democracy since the overthrow of Gaddafi in 2011.

(Reporting by Feras Bosalum; Writing by Ulf Laessing; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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