UNSMIL Statement on Libya’s Independence Day and Second Anniversary of Failure to Hold General Elections

24 Dec 2023

UNSMIL Statement on Libya’s Independence Day and Second Anniversary of Failure to Hold General Elections

TRIPOLI, 24 December 2023 – Today is the 72nd anniversary of Libya’s independence, on which the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) extends its heartfelt congratulations to the Libyan people. It also marks two years since general elections were not held in December 2021. Two-million-eight-hundred-thousand Libyans registered to vote in those elections, after more than a decade of instability, with hopes to renew the legitimacy of their state institutions and set the country on a path to durable peace, stability, and sustainable development.

Libyan people are watching with growing frustration; they want to exercise their political right to vote in a safe and secure environment.

Efforts to hold elections over the past two years have been marked by open-ended negotiations, procrastination, and questionable intent, despite repeated calls from the UN Security Council, most recently in Resolution 2702 (2023), on the need to reach a compromise, and the efforts of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Libya, Abdoulaye Bathily.

In fulfilment of his mandate from the UN Security Council to restore momentum on holding elections, SRSG Bathily invited the heads of five main Libyan institutions – Presidential Council, House of Representatives, High Council of State, Government of National Unity, and Libyan National Army – to meet in good faith to settle all remaining contentious issues impeding progress toward elections.

Libya has now in place a constitutional and legal framework for elections which the High National Election Commission considers technically implementable. However, laws alone cannot lead to successful elections which can only take place when Libyan stakeholders are genuinely committed to creating the necessary conditions for their successful implementation.

UNSMIL remains committed to facilitating dialogue, but the onus lies on Libyan stakeholders to show their full commitment to achieving national unity, peace, and security by engaging positively with SRSG Bathily’s efforts. This means prioritizing the demands of people in Libya over partisan interests, submitting nominations for a preparatory meeting without delay, agreeing on a clear electoral path and timeline for elections, and reaching a consensus on a new unified government to take the country to elections. Failure to act now will deepen division, expose Libya to diverse risks that threaten the lives of people in Libya and compromise regional stability.

Political parties, civil society, women, youth, notables and elders, along with military and security actors, must mobilize and urge their institutional leaders to fulfill their duty to the motherland, Libya.

The international community also needs to stand united in word and deed and urge Libyan stakeholders to choose the path of peace, unity, and democracy. Equally, regional actors must push for and support positive engagement toward a national compromise.