Failure to hold Libya vote could lead to conflict: UN

UNITED NATIONS (AP) – The United Nations (UN) special envoy for Libya warned on Friday 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 UN Security Council that “aborting the drive for elections will for many be a signal that violence is the only path to power in the country”.

UN-sponsored peace talks brought about a cease-fire 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 finalise a legal framework for voting to take place.

Kubis said the House of Representatives adopted the presidential electoral law, and he was told it is in the process of finalising 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,” Kubis said in a video briefing.

“The existing uncertainty creates a fertile ground for spoilers and sceptics 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 UN 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”.

US Deputy Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis said, “The parties need to agree on a constitutional and legal framework for elections – urgently.”