Questions were raised Wednesday at the United Nations about the credibility of presidential elections due to be held in Libya on December 24, with the UN head insisting that he did not want the crucial vote to become “part of the problem.”
“We want these elections to be part of the solution and not be part of the problem,” Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said.
“And so, we will be doing everything to facilitate a dialogue, allowing for the questions that still correspond to, I would say, irritants that might divide Libya to be solved, for the elections to be done in a way that contributes to the solution of the Libyan problem,” he said.
The current president of the Security Council, Abdou Abarry of Niger, was more forthright in his criticism of the election, the first to be held since the uprising that toppled former strongman Muammar Qaddafi in 2011.
“The conditions of free, credible, democratic, consensual elections, an important link for the return of peace and stability in Libya, have not yet been met,” said Abarry, emphasising that he was speaking as his country’s ambassador to the UN, not as head of the Security Council.
“Foreign fighters are still in Libya, the dividing line of the conflict remains frozen, there is no real reunification of the forces,” he told a press conference.
He said that of the more than 20,000 mercenaries and foreign soldiers identified by the UN in Libya, “there are between 11,000 and 12,000 Sudanese” and “a few thousand” from countries in the Sahel region.
“As a neighbouring country, we want there to be a process of demobilisation, done in perfect harmony with the neighboring countries from which these forces originate,” he said.
“The situation is not mature enough to allow a type of elections that can lead to lasting stability and security in Libya, ” he said.
Abarry hinted that he did not share the position of those diplomats — whom he did not identify — who say that “at all costs you have to go to elections regardless of their quality.”
With less than a month to go before the election, the final list of candidates has not yet been made due to multiple appeals filed. Out of a population of seven million, some 2.4 million Libyans have received their voter cards.