Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General and Head of UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) Ghassan Salame said Wednesday that the mission is working on holding elections in Libya before the end of 2018.
Salame made his remarks in a meeting with representatives of tribes, civil society, academics and activists in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi.
“We’re working hard to secure right conditions for elections, such as voter registration and bolstering High National Election Commission capacity, in addition to legal, political, security requirements to enable holding the elections, God willing, before end of September 2018,” Salame said.
“The day for solid and final institutions to emerge in Libya is not far; it is a matter of months. We’re close to a stage underpinned by a permanent constitution, general elections and comprehensive reconciliation, which are the three pillars upon which Libya’s future will be built,” Salame explained.
Salame said that the mission is working on bringing Libyans together and achieve reconciliation in Libya through a national conference sponsored by the UN.
“UNSMIL’s groundwork, which many fail to appreciate, is working to overcome fragmentation of the Libyan society, restore cohesion among Libyans through local reconciliation,” he said.
“Now is the time to repair the social fabric. People’s past is theirs alone, but the country’s future owned by your offspring and we’re here to help your children build a bright future,” he added.
Salame proposed an action plan for Libya in September that includes amendment of the current UN-sponsored political agreement, holding a UN-sponsored national conference for all of Libya’s political factions, adopting a constitution, and finally election of a president and a parliament.
Representatives of Libya’s eastern-based House of Representatives and the Tripoli-based Higher Council of State have recently held UN-sponsored negotiation meetings in Tunisia to amend the agreement.
The House of Representatives last week approved a UN-proposed amendment. However, the rival Higher Council of State rejected the amendment, announcing possibility of holding elections within six months to appoint a government of technocrats.
Libya has been struggling to make a democratic transition ever since the uprising of 2011 that toppled former leader Gaddafi’s regime. The country is plagued with political division and unrest.