UN envoy to Libya stresses importance of elections

UN Special Representative for Libya also known as the UN envoy to Libya, Abdoulaye Bathily, has emphasized the necessity of national elections in Libya to achieve peace, stability, and prosperity. Bathily spoke at a press conference regarding the high-level panel for elections on Saturday, stating that the Libyan people must have the opportunity to elect their leaders through the ballot box to restore and rebuild legitimate public institutions that represent and serve the people of Libya.

He further added that the postponement of elections a year ago disappointed Libyan citizens and urged all Libyan leaders to “seize this opportunity to commit themselves to this vision and meet the aspirations of their great people”.

The UN envoy Bathily’s call for elections comes as Libya struggles to make a democratic transition since the fall of the late leader Muammar Gaddafi’s regime in 2011. Libya failed to hold general elections in December 2021 due to disagreements over election laws among Libyan parties. However, in January, Libyan Prime Minister Abdul-Hamed Dbeibah said his government is ready to hold general elections in 2023.

Bathily called on rival administrations in conflict-torn Libya to agree to terms for elections “by mid-June” to be held by the end of the year. The UN envoy has faced pushback over his criticism of the country’s two houses of parliament for failing to reach an agreement. Bathily defended his proposal in a news conference in Tripoli on Saturday, stating that it was “not a foreign-imposed solution”.

Who is the UN envoy to Libya – Abdoulaye Bathily?

Abdoulaye Bathily was appointed as the new Special Representative for Libya and Head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) by United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres in September 2022. Bathily, a Senegalese national, has over 40 years of experience in his national government, academic institutions, regional organizations, and the United Nations system.

He previously served as Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General in the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) and as Special Representative for Central Africa and Head of the United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA) in Gabon. Bathily has also held various ministerial positions in the Senegalese Government and is a history professor. He is fluent in English, French, Soninke, and Wolof.

Image Credit: World Atlas

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