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Help build solid foundation for Libyan elections and don’t fixate on dates, Security Council says

NEW YORK: Mediators should take into account lessons learned in Libya over the past two years and focus on “creating milestones” for the country’s political transition, rather than focusing on the timetable involved, according to Elham Saudi, co-founder and director of Lawyers for Justice in Libya.

These milestones include an electoral law, a code for the conduct of elections and a solid constitutional basis “that appropriately sequences presidential and legislative elections in accordance with the broader roadmap to complete (the) transition”, a- he declared.

Addressing the UN Security Council on Monday at its regular meeting on developments in Libya, Saudi Arabia said that when these measures are implemented, elections will naturally follow and will be “much more manageable. , to protect and organize successfully”.

Stephanie Williams, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres’ special adviser on Libya, recently reiterated the importance of holding elections “as soon as possible”. She said this month that “it is possible, and necessary, to have elections before the end of June.”

However, Saudi Arabia said “focusing on election dates instead of a clear process to facilitate them once again risks undermining due process in the name of perceived political expediency.”

Growing polarization between the country’s political powers and disputes over key aspects of the electoral process – including gaps in the legal framework for elections, conflicting court rulings on candidacies, and political and security concerns as cited by the High Commission for the elections – resulted in the postponement of the elections, which were to take place on December 24 last year.

Saudi Arabia reminded members of the Security Council that “accountability is a prerequisite for political progress. Ill-defined and fundamentally weak selection criteria applied to candidates for election have resulted in the acceptance as candidates of persons implicated in corruption or crimes against humanity and human rights violations, including persons who have been indicted by the ICC (International Criminal Court).

Following the postponement of the poll in December, the Libyan House of Representatives set up a “roadmap committee” to chart a new course towards national elections. The commission will present its first report for debate on Tuesday in Tripoli.

Rosemary DiCarlo, UN under-secretary-general for political and peacebuilding affairs, hailed what she described as renewed efforts by the Libyan Presidency Council to advance national reconciliation, but lamented the political uncertainty as elections approach. which she said has “had a negative impact on the overall security situation, including in Tripoli, resulting in shifting alliances between armed groups affiliated with some presidential candidates.”

She expressed concern about the human rights situation in Libya, citing “incidents of election-related violence and attacks based on political affiliation, as well as threats and violence against members of the judiciary involved in procedures for the eligibility of candidates for elections, and against journalists, activists and individuals expressing political opinions.

DiCarlo added, “Such incidents are an obstacle to creating an environment conducive to free, fair, peaceful and credible elections.”

Taher El-Sonni, Libya’s permanent representative to the UN, told the Security Council that while some were surprised by the postponement of the elections, it was widely expected.

“In light of the crisis of confidence and the absence of a constitution for the country, or of a consensual constitutional rule as advocated by most political forces at present, it will be very difficult to carry out these elections because elections are meant to be a means of political participation and not a means of dominance and exclusion, and a means of sustaining stability and not an end in themselves that could pave the way for new conflict,” he said. he declares.

El-Sonni called on the UN to offer more “serious and effective” support to the electoral process and to send teams to assess the needs on the ground.

“It would be a clear message to everyone about the seriousness of the international community in achieving the elections that everyone aspires to, without questioning them or their results,” he said.

The Libyan envoy invited the council to “contribute actively” to the processes of national reconciliation and transitional justice, “two concomitant and essential tracks which have unfortunately been lost in recent years, although they are the main basis for success of any political solution”. which leads to the stability of the country.

He also called again on the African Union to support his country’s efforts in this area.

Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis, senior adviser for special political affairs with the US mission to the UN, said it was time the wishes of the millions of Libyans who registered to vote were respected.

“It is time to move beyond clandestine agreements between a small circle of powerful individuals supported by armed groups, sharing the spoils and protecting their positions,” he said. “The Libyan people are ready to decide their own future.

“Those fighting to lead Libya must see that the Libyan people will only accept leadership strengthened by elections and will only tolerate such a delay.”

Like many other ambassadors present at the meeting, DeLaurentis also addressed the migrant crisis and reports of violence and abuse directed against migrants, asylum seekers and refugees in Libya.

“The Libyan authorities must close illicit detention centers, end arbitrary detention practices and allow unimpeded humanitarian access to affected populations,” he said.

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