NEW YORK — The senior United Nations official in Libya says the organization of the July 7 Libyan election was an extraordinary accomplishment, but the country's new government will face major challenges.
The Special Representative of the U.N. Secretary-General in Libya, Ian Martin, told the U.N. Security Council that when Libya's new National Congress convenes, it will be the country's first peaceful and democratic transfer of power. Martin said the overwhelming success of the elections earlier this month has shown that the majority of the Libyan people were determined to take part in Libya's first democratic steps.
"The interim government is expected to remain in office until the new government is formed, and is preparing a smooth handover. New ministers will begin with a better legacy than the institutional void which greeted their predecessors. But there is no underestimating the challenges and expectations which the new government will face," he said.
The U.N. representative for Libya said foremost among the challenges facing Libya is security. Libya's citizens, he continued, overwhelmingly want the rule of law to prevail, in a weapons-free environment. Especially in the south, he told the Security Council, they want Libya's borders to be secured against the trafficking of persons, drugs and weapons. Martin said in the area of justice, progress has been disappointing and a new government must bring stronger efforts.
The president of the Security Council, Colombian ambassador Nestor Osorio addressed reporters after the Council's meeting. He said all of its members celebrated the Libyan elections as a very important step, not only because of the large participation of voters, about 62 percent, but also because women were highly recognized and elected to congress.
"Libya, after so many years of tyranny and the rule of force, is now entering very clearly the rule of law process," he said.
U.N. envoy Martin said that subject to certification, 33 women were elected to Libya's 200-member National Congress.