U.N. envoy: Failure to hold Libya vote could lead to conflict

To support implementation of the ceasefire, Mr. Kubis said the U.N. is continuing preparations to deploy the first group of 10 U.N. ceasefire monitors and support staff “in the coming days”

The U.N. special envoy for Libya warned on September 10 that failure to hold presidential and parliamentary elections on December 24 could renew division and conflict and thwart efforts to unite the oil-rich North African nation after a decade of turmoil.

Jan Kubis told the U.N. Security Council that “aborting the drive for elections will be for many be a signal that violence is the only path to power in the country.”

U.N. sponsored peace talks brought about a ceasefire last October between rival governments in Libya’s east and west and installed an interim government that is expected to lead the country into December elections, but the Libyan parliament has failed to finalize a legal framework for voting to take place.

Mr. Kubis said the House of Representatives adopted the presidential electoral law, and he was told it is in the process of finalizing the electoral law for parliamentary elections. He said the High Council of State, an executive institution that among other duties proposes electoral laws, complained that the presidential electoral law was adopted without consulting its members.

“The country and its people need a full clarity that the elections are going to happen on December 24,” Mr. Kubis said in a video briefing. “The existing uncertainty creates a fertile ground for spoilers and skeptics to manipulate the situation against the political transition, feeding in the existing tensions in relations between diverse Libyan institutions and authorities.”

He stressed that holding elections, “even in less than ideal situation, and with all imperfections, challenges and risks is much more desirable than no elections that could only foster division, instability and conflict.”

Many Security Council members also called for elections to take place on December 24, the date decided by the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum, a 75-member body from all walks of life, and endorsed by the Security Council.

France’s U.N. Ambassador Nicolas De Riviere called on all Libyan leaders “to assume their responsibilities to complete this process on time and to rise to the challenge.” He said, “France will support any Libyan decision supported by the United Nations to clarify the legal basis for holding the elections.”

U.S. deputy ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis said “The parties need to agree on a constitutional and legal framework for elections — urgently.” While it’s fortunate that work is progressing, he said, “we urge maximum efforts to consult and secure broad consensus.”

Libya has been wracked by chaos since a NATO-backed uprising toppled longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi in 2011 and split the country between a U.N. supported government in the capital, Tripoli, and rival authorities loyal to commander Khalifa Hifter in the east. Each have been backed by different armed groups and foreign governments.

Hifter launched a military offensive in 2019 to capture the capital, a campaign backed by Egypt, the United Arab Emirates,…

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