US Ambassador Reviews Latest Election Preparations in Libya

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US Envoy to Libya, Richard Norland
US Envoy to Libya, Richard Norland

On Thursday, the Head of Libya’s High National Elections Commission (HNEC), Emad Al-Sayeh met with the US Envoy to Libya, Richard Norland, and the Chargé d’Affaires of the US Embassy, Leslie Ordeman. They discussed the Commission’s readiness to administer credible, and transparent elections.

In a statement, HNEC said that the meeting “comes within the framework of the US’s strong support for the electoral process in Libya, and to review the commission’s technical preparations.”

According to the statement, Norland praised the “advanced levels of readiness reached by the Elections Commission, affirming his unwavering technical and advisory support to hold free and fair elections that reflect the will and hopes of the Libyan people.”

He also praised the “national efforts that seek to reach a constitutional basis for the long-awaited elections, in order to achieve stability and end the transitional stages.”

The US Envoy pointed out that these steps are “essential to avoid conflict, and advance the political transition process in Libya.”

During a meeting with the Prime Minister of the Government of National Unity (GNU) Abdel-Hamid Dbaiba on Wednesday, Norland said Libya “has the technical ability to hold elections, what it needs is the political will.”

He stressed the importance of finalizing a constitutional basis and moving swiftly to elections.

During an interview with Libya’s Al-Sabah newspaper, Al-Sayeh said that the delay in issuing the elections laws was the first factor in the force majeure. He stressed that elections are the only solution to end this crisis. As well as claiming that “what is rumored about foreign interference is incorrect, given that the electoral process is a Libyan decision.”

The long-awaited Libyan elections were supposed to be held on 24 December 2022. HNEC said that a “force majeure” prevented it from organizing the elections after political parties failed to reach an agreement.

Al-Sayeh reiterated that the Commission is technically ready to hold elections, as Libyan voters demand.

Earlier this week, Al-Sayeh said that Libya’s election laws, “are primarily responsible for securing the electoral process.” During his attendance at a simulation of the elections, Al-Sayeh added that “the elections were postponed in order for us to be ready to hold them, and we are currently in the stage of developing competencies. Elections require a fair law accepted by all.”

He noted that he had made high-level contacts, to ensure that the elections would be secured. Al-Sayeh stressed that “if we had a fair election law, agreed upon by all parties, the elections would be able to proceed.”

Libya has been mired in conflict since Muammar Gaddafi was deposed and killed in a NATO-backed uprising in 2011. Plagued by divisions between competing institutions in the east and west, Libya remains split between rival forces, with two opposing executives in place since February.