What's In Blue

Posted Tue 10 Jul 2012

Libya Elections Press Statement

Council members have been in discussions on a draft press statement on the election which took place in Libya on Saturday (7 July) and the statement may be issued shortly if agreement is reached. (For the first time in 60 years Libyans voted in a free national election to select a temporary assembly that will subsequently pick a cabinet and a prime minister.)

The draft press statement, which was prepared by the UK, was shared among Council members yesterday (9 July) and put under silence procedure. However, it seems Russia had some concerns with parts of the text and broke silence this morning. It appears that bilateral negotiations are continuing but at press time it was unclear if agreement could be reached on time to release the statement today ahead of the official results of the election which are expected to be announced by the High Election National Commission in Libya tomorrow (11 July).

It seems that the main area of contention in negotiating the draft text was referring to the election as “successful”. Some Council members felt that this was not entirely appropriate as the voting process on Saturday was not without incident. Armed men reportedly stopped voters from casting their ballots in the port town of Ras Lanuf. Voting was also apparently disrupted in Brega and Ajdabiya. In parts of Benghazi, hundreds of protesters were reported to have burnt ballot boxes. On 6 July, a helicopter carrying voting material was fired at in eastern Libya and an electoral worker killed. Moreover, allegedly 101 polling stations, mostly in the eastern Libya, did not open due to lack of security. (A number of people in oil-rich eastern Libya are concerned that they will be underrepresented in the assembly and marginalised as was the case during Col. Muammar Qaddafi’s rule.)

Another point of contention in the draft statement seems to be a reference to the role of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) in the forthcoming constitutional process. Apparently Russia was uncomfortable with including language on this issue before the Council has had an in-depth discussion regarding UNSMIL’s possible post-election role. (UNSMIL is scheduled to next be discussed by the Council on 18 July when Ian Martin, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of UNSMIL, will brief. Martin, who last briefed the Council on 10 May, is expected to update Council members on recent political and security developments in Libya, including the recent elections.)

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