UN envoy warns of consequences of not holding elections in Libya

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UNITED NATIONS, Nov. 24 (Xinhua) -- The top UN envoy for Libya, Jan Kubis, on Wednesday warned of possible disastrous consequences of not holding elections in Libya.

Libya continues to be at a delicate and fragile juncture on its path to unity and stability through the ballot boxes. While risks associated with the ongoing political polarization around the elections are evident and present, not holding the elections scheduled for Dec. 24 could gravely deteriorate the situation in the country and could lead to further division and conflict, he told the Security Council in a briefing.

As demonstrated by the high number of registered voters and candidates, the Libyan people are yearning for an opportunity to elect their representatives and give them the mandate to govern Libya through democratic legitimacy. The aspiration and determination of the majority of Libyans to participate in the presidential and parliamentary elections as candidates or voters must be fulfilled, he said.

The High National Election Commission (HNEC) on Nov. 8 started the nationwide distribution of voter cards to more than 2.8 million registered voters. To date, more than 1.84 million voter cards have been distributed at 1,906 electoral centers across the country in the ongoing process, covering some 64.3 percent of the total number of registered voters, he said.

It is important that the international community remains united in its support for elections as demonstrated at this month's Paris conference on Libya. At the same time, pragmatic engagement is required to safeguard the integrity of the electoral process and minimize risks of polarization and confrontation, said Kubis.

The United Nations will continue to make every effort to address concerns and mitigate the risks of a disputed electoral process, to build consensus for holding the elections and dealing with the post-election situation. The Libyan judiciary has the final word regarding the objections raised about the process as well as some presidential candidates. Their verdict must be respected, he said.

On Wednesday, HNEC will announce a preliminary list of the presidential candidates from among 98 contenders, including two women, that have registered for the presidential poll. Thus far, 2,001 candidates, including 276 women, have registered for the parliamentary elections, in the ongoing registration process that should conclude on Dec. 7, said Kubis.

"The final decision is for the Libyan people who will be making their choice through the elections. It is the Libyans that have their future and the future of Libya in their hands. They should participate in the elections, vote for those that are committed to stable, prosperous, united, sovereign and democratic Libya, governed by the rule of law and committed to fight corruption, pursue national reconciliation, justice and accountability," he said.

It is high time that Libya, led by the authorities and institutions with a strong democratic mandate derived through elections, liberates itself from external interferences. Libya cannot continue destroying itself, by continuing to offer itself as a playground for foreign interests and ambitions, he added.

As elections approach, there is a risk that entrenched political and institutional divisions turn into confrontation fueled by uncompromising attitudes, inflammatory rhetoric and fake news, he warned.

In the western region and in Tripoli, in particular, tensions are high and could escalate further amid elections-related polarization. The fragmentation of the political context, lack of an inclusive and consultative political and electoral process, ensuing lack of trust and consensus, and continued controversies on the electoral process could undermine the implementation of the electoral process, he said.

Some incidents affecting the electoral centers for the issuing of voter cards were recorded. Activities of groups opposed to the elections might result in cases of impediments for citizens to collect their voting cards and later to cast their votes. The ability to freely campaign in the east, south and west is also at stake. Legal challenges aiming to annul the results of the elections might revive an institutional and constitutional crisis following the elections. Moreover, an increased likelihood of asymmetric activities perpetrated by violent extremist organizations aiming to disrupt the stabilization processes cannot be excluded, warned the envoy. Enditem

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