UN delegate to Libya: Elections will be in spring of 2019

UN envoy to Libya, Ghassan Salame. (UNSMIL)

A national conference will be held in Libya in the first weeks of 2019 to push for elections that could take place next year, the UN envoy told the Security Council on Thursday.

UN envoy Ghassan Salame said the conference will provide “a platform” for Libyans to spell out their vision for the future and “no longer be ignored” by those in power in the divided country.

A French-backed plan to hold elections on December 10 fell apart in September when the United States, Russia and other powers at the Security Council refused to back the timetable.

Speaking to the council by video-conference from Tripoli, Salame said the national conference, which has been under discussion since last year, had been delayed because of ongoing fighting and political divisions.

“Now, conditions are more propitious,” he said.

“The national conference is to be held in the first weeks of 2019. The subsequent electoral process should commence in the spring of 2019.”

The envoy quoted a poll showing that 80 percent of Libyans insist on having elections and stressed that international support for the conference was crucial.

Salame said Libyans have been increasingly impoverished while billions are being stolen from national coffers.

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