UN envoy to intensify negotiations to reach final agreement on Libyan elections in coming months

UNITED NATIONS (AP) – The UN special envoy for Libya said on Monday he plans to intensify negotiations with the country’s warring parties to reach “a final settlement” in the coming months on the most contentious issues blocking long-delayed elections in the troubled North African nation.

Abdoulaye Bathily warned the UN Security Council that the extension of the current status quo “has serious consequences for Libya and its neighbours”. And he said it was imperative that members increase pressure on parties, speak with one voice and act “to remove spoilers”.

Bathily called the bills for presidential and parliamentary elections approved by a committee made up of Libya’s two rival legislative bodies on June 6 an “important step forward, but not enough to resolve the most contested issues and enable elections”. successful”.

He said the four most politically contested issues in the bills are: presidential candidate eligibility criteria, a mandatory second ballot even if a candidate gets more than the 50% required to win, no legislative elections if the presidential elections fail in the first instance. round table and establishment of a new interim government before the elections.

Without compromise on these issues, Bathily warned that disputed issues risk leading the electoral process to an impasse as happened in 2021, “which will lead to further polarization and even destabilization of the country.”

Oil-rich Libya descended into chaos after a NATO-backed uprising toppled and killed longtime dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. In the ensuing chaos, the county split with administrations rivals in the east and west backed by rogue militias and foreign governments.

The country’s current political crisis stems from the failure to hold elections on December 24, 2021 and the refusal of Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah – who led a transitional government in the capital Tripoli – to step down. In response, the country’s east-based parliament appointed a rival prime minister, Fathy Bashagha, who has been seeking for months to install her government in Tripoli.

Bathily said that the political process in Libya “has again reached a critical stage”, stressing that “successful elections require not only a legal framework, but also a political agreement that guarantees the buy-in and inclusion of all major stakeholders”.

“Before my next board briefing, I intend to intensify negotiations and convene key stakeholders or their trusted representatives to reach a final resolution on the most contentious issues, make draft applicable law and enable successful elections with an inclusive political agreement,” the UN special representative said. Bathily updated the council approximately every two months.

On the security front, Bathily said Tripoli has remained relatively calm but ongoing government operations against drug, arms, fuel and human smuggling activities in the coastal town of Zawiya and its surroundings “have sparked allegations of political motives” and could risk undermining the stability of the capital.

He also expressed concern about “excessive controls by security agencies” restricting human rights, including freedom of assembly and freedom of movement.

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