UN special advisor pushing for Libya to hold delayed elections in June

UN special advisor pushing for Libya to hold delayed elections in June
2 min read
18 January, 2022
Stephanie Williams, the UN Secretary General's Special Advisor on Libya (SASG) said she is pushing for the North African country to hold its postponed elections in June, saying this was 'reasonable and possible'.
Stephanie Williams said Libya's lawmakers 'shoulder a great responsibility right now to respect the will of the Libyans' [source: Getty]

A senior UN official has been pushing for Libya to hold its postponed elections in June following a last-minute delay to the vote in December. 

Stephanie Williams, who oversaw the UN-brokered 2020 ceasefire in the North African country, said it was “very reasonable and possible” that Libyans could cast their ballots in June, according to AP. 

The election, originally scheduled for December 24, was delayed just days before polls were set to open due to ongoing disputes over electoral legislation and the eligibility of presidential candidates. 

“All the institutions are suffering a crisis of legitimacy,” said Williams. “I don’t see any other exit for Libya other than a peaceful political process.”

The UN Special Adviser urged lawmakers meeting in the eastern city of Tobruk Monday to agree on a "clear, time-bound process with a clear horizon and to not create an open-ended process". 

On the same day, Libyan Parliament Speaker Aguila Saleh, who is running for president, said the mandate of the country's unity government was expired, casting doubt over the interim administration's ability to rule while plans for elections can get back on track. 

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Libya is split between rival factions in the east dominated by a Russian-back warlord Khalifa Haftar and Turkish-back forces in the west.

A tenuous ceasefire was agreed in October 2020, ending years of intense conflict after the death of Muammar Gaddafi, with an agreement that free and fair elections will take place thereafter. 

Despite 2.8 million Libyans registering to vote, the High National Election Commission announced it was "unable" to meet the December deadline. It called for a new date to be set by the House of Representatives within a 30-day period. 

No new date has been established.

Libya’s parliament wants major disagreement over the election’s framework and candidates to be agreed upon before a timeline is implemented, reported Foreign Policy.  This could mean "an indefinite delay," the global magazine said.