Libya lawmakers back $10k family grant ahead of polls

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Libyans gather to express support to the country's unity government in Tripoli's Martyrs' Square on September 24, 2021 AFP/File
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  • Parliamentary spokesman Abdullah Bliheg said all Libyan families are eligible, except for those who have benefited from the "marriage bonus".
  • The presidential election in December and a legislative vote in January are supposed to help unify Libya.

Libya’s eastern-based parliament has approved grants of around $10,000 for each family after its rival, the unity government in the country’s west, approved handouts to young couples ahead of elections.

The parliament based in the eastern city of Tobruk announced the unanimous vote by lawmakers to give 50,000 dinars to each family in the country of seven million.

“All Libyan families are eligible” except for those who have benefited from the “marriage bonus”, parliamentary spokesman Abdullah Bliheg told AFP.

The move comes ahead of a presidential election in December and a legislative vote in January.

The polls are supposed to help unify Libya after years of conflict and division, but disputes over their legal and constitutional basis have laid bare the extent of the split between the country’s east and west.

In August the country’s unity government based in Tripoli announced it would give “marriage benefits” of 40,000 dinars each to 25,000 couples set to marry by the end of the year.

They are excluded from the law adopted Monday, however.

The eastern-based parliament is led by Aguila Saleh, an ally of eastern military chief Khalifa Haftar and rival of transitional Prime Minister Abdulhamid Dbeibah.

Libya has been gearing up for elections since last year, following a ceasefire between western fighters and Haftar’s forces which had spent a year waging an ultimately unsuccessful campaign to seize Tripoli.

The country fell into the abyss following the 2011 toppling of longtime dictator Moamer Kadhafi and despite its vast oil wealth, many Libyans are living in poverty.

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