UN hopes for Libya elections by end of 2018

Ghassan Salame, UN special envoy for Libya and head of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), speaks during a press conference at the mission headquarters in the capital Tripoli, on February 7, 2018.

Tripoli: UN envoy Ghassan Salame said Wednesday he hoped for elections in Libya by the end of 2018 but that conditions in the strife-torn country were not yet ready for polling.

“There are several conditions. For the time being, we have only achieved one: the start of voter registration,” the UN envoy for Libya told a news conference in Tripoli.

Last September, Salame submitted an action plan to stabilise Libya centred on holding legislative and presidential elections this year.

“All the conditions have not been met,” he said, stressing an electoral law still needed to be adopted and the security situation was not ready.

“The most important thing is to secure the acceptance of all parties of the election results” ahead of polling, which he hoped could be held “by the end of 2018”.

Salame played down the prospects of a disarmament programme, estimating at 20 million the number of weapons in the hands of Libya’s six million population.

A 2015 UN-brokered deal that saw the establishment of a Government of National Accord was meant to calm years of chaos that followed the ouster of dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

But Libya has remained mired in violent turmoil as the country is riven by divisions between the GNA in Tripoli and a rival administration backed by military strongman Khalifa Haftar in the east.

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