The UN's unceasing support for the holding of elections in Libya

The international body aims to hold presidential elections in order to finally achieve democracy in the African country

AFP/MAHMUD TURKIA  -   File photo, polling station in Tripoli, 8 November 2021.

Last week, a session took place in the Parliamentary Chamber where Aguila Saleh, Speaker of the House of Representatives, asked the parliamentary roadmap committee to set a deadline for the holding of elections by the end of January at the latest. "After contacting all parties, we invite them to submit their report to the presidency by the end of January to clarify the necessary steps to remove the obstacles to the electoral process that stalled in December, and to set an inevitable date for its re-examination according to a specific roadmap," the Speaker told the committee. "We also call on the committee to provide an integrated vision of executive power and government formation," he added.

Libya had an election date in December, but the elections called for 24 December did not take place, the non-holding of which meant the expiry of the interim government's mandate, as Aguila Saleh reported, and it must be reconstituted again. In fact, he demanded that the governor of the Central Bank, the attorney general and the regulatory agencies not disburse financial allocations to the current government unless they had prior authorisation from the House of Representatives. In addition, the suspension of the presidential elections dealt a further blow to the country's failed political transition. The Electoral Commission proposed to delay voting by one month. 

PHOTO/AFP  - Khalifa Haftar, Aguila Saleh and Al Sarraj during a meeting in Paris in 2018.

Two days before the presidential elections on 24 December, Libya's High Electoral Commission communicated that voting could not take place because not even the final list of candidates had been published, so they could not conduct the election campaign. In the months leading up to the elections, there were also several violent incidents at some polling stations in western Libya and the appearance of armed men at the headquarters of the Sabha Court in the south of the country. Since 2011 and after the fall of Gadhafi's regime, Libya has been immersed in a chaotic climate, where the emergence of armed groups and terrorist organisations has increased.

This Monday, a session of the Lower House of the Libyan Parliament will hear the report of the Council's roadmap committee on the development of an integrated vision for the next political phase, following the impossibility of holding elections. In response, Stephanie Turco Williams, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General on Libya, called for accountability from Council members in setting a new date for elections. Williams, who was appointed special adviser in early December 2021, has been tasked with leading several meetings with Libya and related countries to end the crisis and to set a date for the polls. Since the beginning of the year, the special envoy has not stopped holding meetings for the holding of elections.  

PHOTO/MARTIAL TREZZINI/KEYSTONE via AP  - Stephanie Williams has been appointed Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General on Libya, the UN announced on 6 December 2021.

Furthermore, via Twitter she commented that "I encouraged all MPs to attend the session, assume their responsibilities towards the Libyan people, set a new date and a clear course for elections, taking into account 2.5 Libyans who received their electoral cards", after her meeting with Akela Saleh, in Al-Qubba, "the Libyan people want to end the transition period that has been demanded for several years, along with the successive power-sharing agreements", added Williams herself. Everything that happened in Libya and in the session will be reported to the UN Security Council, as well as the political and electoral process.

The holding of presidential elections will mean the continuation of a transition process supported by the United Nations and by the Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, and the possible holding of legislative elections for the establishment of a democracy. The transition process has been affected by foreign interventions, the proliferation of arms and the appearance of mercenaries, according to information from the AFP agency.