By Sami Zaptia.
London, 28 January 2021:
UNSMIL yesterday reiterated its call for the unification of the electoral authorities for municipal council elections in Libya. It stressed the importance of the holding of municipal elections.
This comes as Libya’s political process continues to make progress through the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF) towards securing the necessary conditions for the holding of national elections on 24 December 2021.
UNSMIL urged all stakeholders, institutions and actors involved in municipal elections including the House of Representatives (HoR), to support and facilitate the cooperation among the two electoral entities of Tripoli and Benghazi, as an essential step towards the unification of Libyan institutions.
It pointed out that since 22 December 2020 council elections have been successfully organised in the municipalities of Hay Alandalus, Gaser Alakhiar, Swani Bin Adam Zliten, Tajoura, Sabratha and Qarabouli under the auspices of the Tripoli-based Central Committee for Municipal Council Elections (CCMCE).
It conceded that the democratic process continues with the decision of the CCMCE to re-run the partially unsafe elections in Swani Ben Adam, and pointed to the court rulings to cancel elections in Hay Alandalus and Tajoura. It said these are part of ensuring the integrity of these electoral processes through the existing legal framework.
It also accepted 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 in the Al Wahat municipalities of Jalou, Awjela and Ajkherra.
UNSMIL welcomed and supported the resumption of second-generation municipal council elections in Libya since March 2019, critical to uphold democratic governance at the municipal level.
Concerned at ongoing parallel activities and ad hoc voter registration system
However, UNSMIL said it is concerned at ongoing parallel activities, including the ad hoc voter registration system used in three eastern municipalities, regarding which it was notified by local stakeholders from Wahat municipalities.
Eastern Civil Society Commission requests UNSMIL support
UNSMIL reported that on 20 January it received a letter from the Civil Society Commission under the eastern Libyan interim government, requesting from it support and contribution in future electoral processes in the East, as well as from the international community.
UNSMIL urged the two electoral management bodies to jointly address the issue of the 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 a technical cooperation to jointly conducting transparent and credible elections across Libya, it urged.
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 noted.
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, concluded UNSMIL.