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Leader Of Libyan Unity Government Calls For March 2016 Presidential, Parliamentary Vote

Libyan leader Fayez al-Sarraj (file photo).

The head of Libya's UN-supported government has announced parliamentary and presidential elections to be held in March 2018.

Fayez al-Sarraj, head of the Government of National Accord (GNA), said in a July 16 televised speech that the new president and parliament would have a mandate of "three years maximum, or until the drafting and organization of a referendum for a constitution."

He also called for a national ceasefire and the eventual combining of rival parliamentary bodies based in Tripoli and eastern Libya.

He said he was calling for the elections because of his "determination to escape the current crisis and unify Libyans."

"I am confident that the national spirit will overcome the narrow personal interests, and invite everyone to offer compromise even if it's painful to do so," he said.

Libya has been mired in political turmoil and fighting between rival militias since the 2011 uprising that brought down longtime dictator Muammar Qadafi, who was killed in the revolt.

The GNA began working in March 2016, but a rival political grouping in the remote east of the country has refused to recognize its authority.

Sarraj said the GNA would remain the caretaker government until the elections were completed.

Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters