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Libyan internationally-recognized parliament votes to extend its mandate


BENGHAZI, Libya — Libya's internationally-recognized parliament has voted to extend its own mandate past the Oct. 20 deadline, said two members of the body and its media spokesman.

The move could signal a lack of confidence in the ongoing U.N. efforts to strike a deal between Libya's two rival governments and form a national unity government.

Essa al-Areibi, Ali Takbali and Faraj Abuhashim said 129 members of the 131 present voted to extend the parliament's mandate until power is transferred to another elected body.

The mandate was set to expire on Oct. 20 under a political roadmap sketched out after the 2011 overthrow of longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

Spokesman Abuhashim said, "This is a precautionary measure in case the political talks fail, to avoid leaving a political vacuum."

He added that the vote reached quorum after other parliament members arrived from Egypt.

The country split is between the internationally-recognized government, which was forced to relocate from Tripoli to eastern Libya, and a rival government and parliament in Tripoli set up by the Islamist-linked militias that control the capital.

The United Nations has set an Oct. 20 deadline for a final agreement. The international community believes a national unity government is the first step toward addressing issues of migration and the growing presence in Libya of the Islamic State group.

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