UNSMIL: Libyan Electoral Authorities Must be Unified – Al Marsad

The United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) urged unification of Libyan electoral authorities for municipal council elections in Libya as the political process continues to make slow progress through the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF).

(LIBYA, 30 January 2021) – In its statement issued this week, UNSMIL indicated that there was progress through the LPDF towards securing the necessary conditions for the holding of national elections on 24 December 2021. It stressed the importance of the holding of municipal elections, and reiterated its call on the unification of the electoral authorities for municipal council elections in Libya.

UNSMIL urged all stakeholders, institutions and actors involved in municipal elections including the House of Representatives (HoR), to support and facilitate cooperation among the two electoral entities of Tripoli and Benghazi, as an essential step towards the unification of Libyan institutions.

Moreover, the statement added that since 22 December 2020 council elections have been successfully organized in the municipalities of Hayy al-Andalus, Gaser Alakhiar, Swani Bin Adam, Zliten, Tajoura, Sabratha and Qarabouli, under the auspices of the Central Committee for Municipal Council Elections.

UNSMIL clarified that the democratic process continues with the decision of the Central Commission of Municipal Council Elections (CCMCE) to re-run elections in Swani Ben Adam, along with court rulings to cancel elections in Hayy al-Andalus and Tajoura, as part of ensuring the integrity of the electoral process through the existing legal framework.

Furthermore, the statement explained that on 11 January 2021, municipal council elections were also organised in Eastern Libya for the first time under the auspices of the Benghazi based Central Committee for Municipal Elections. The elections took place in Al-Wahat municipalities of Jalou, Awjela and Ajkherra. UNSMIL said it welcomes and supports the resumption of second-generation municipal council elections in Libya

It added that the elections started on March 2019 and they were critical in order to uphold democratic governance at the municipal level. UNSMIL, however, is concerned at the ongoing parallel activities, including the ad hoc voter registration system used in three eastern municipalities.

It is worth noting that UNSMIL received a letter from the Civil Society Commission under the Libyan interim government, requesting support and contribution in future electoral processes in the East from the Mission, as well as from the international community.

UNSMIL urges the two electoral management bodies to jointly address the issue of voter register and the use of two different electoral systems as a matter of priority in the larger context of their institutional unification. The two electoral entities should engage in discussions on technical cooperation to jointly conduct transparent and credible elections across Libya.

The statement cited that the electronic registration system that has been built by the CCMCE since 2013 has enabled 130 credible council elections across Libya, including 34 elections in Western and Southern Libya since 2018.

It concluded by stressing that these achievements should be preserved, and the two entities are well placed to set the example of institutional unification, overcoming differences and divisions for the benefit of the Libyan people, state-building and democracy.