UN en­voy urges start of Libya elec­tion process early 2019

Daily Sabah (Turkey) - - Regional -

LIBYA should start the process to hold an elec­tion in spring 2019 only af­ter a na­tional con­fer­ence to dis­cuss con­flicts, U.N. Spe­cial Libya En­voy Ghas­san Salame said on Thurs­day.

Four of the war-torn coun­try’s ri­val lead­ers had ear­lier agreed this year to con­duct par­lia­men­tary and pres­i­den­tial elec­tions on Dec. 10, with post­pone­ments and con­tra­dic­tions in the months since the pact “sim­ply in­tended to waste time,” U.N. en­voy told the U.N. Se­cu­rity Coun­cil via vide­olink from Tripoli, dpa re­ported. The plan to hold a vote in 2018 was aban­doned be­cause of vi­o­lence and po­lit­i­cal di­vi­sions. “Count­less Libyans are sick and tired of mil­i­tary ad­ven­tur­ism and petty po­lit­i­cal ma­neu­vers,” Salame said. He called for a na­tional con­fer­ence in the first weeks of 2019, fol­lowed by a start to the elec­toral process in the spring. He cited a poll that showed that 80 per cent of Libyans in­sist on hav­ing elec­tions.

Libya has been dogged by tur­moil since 2011, when a bloody NATO-backed upris­ing led to the death of the strong­man Moam­mar Gad­hafi af­ter more than four decades in power. Since then, the coun­try’s stark po­lit­i­cal di­vi­sions have yielded two ri­val seats of power, one in To­bruk and an­other in Tripoli, and a host of heav­ily-armed mili­tia groups. Italy is host­ing a two-day sum­mit bring­ing to­gether rep­re­sen­ta­tives from Libya’s war­ring fac­tions in Palermo, Si­cily, next week. The head of Libya’s U.N.-backed gov­ern­ment, Fayez al-Sar­raj, urged the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity to find a “com­mon vision” for the chaos-hit North African na­tion, ahead of cri­sis talks in Si­cily.

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