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UN: Credible, Inclusive Elections in Libya This Year a 'Top Priority'

U.N. envoy to Libya Ghassan Salame gestures during a meeting with southern Libyan groups in Tripoli, Libya, Feb. 7, 2018.

The United Nations' top official in Libya said holding credible and inclusive elections there by the end of this year is a top priority.

"It is vital that before elections take place, we are certain they will be inclusive and their results accepted," Ghassan Salame told Security Council members Wednesday. "For this reason, I'm pleased the voter registration, which ended 10 days ago, proceeded with great success."

Saleme said 1 million new voters have registered, raising the total of Libyans eligible to vote to 2.5 million. He said women and youth registered in large numbers, and he encouraged women, especially, to translate their numbers into more candidacies.

"The Libyan people want their voices heard, and they want it through elections," said Saleme.

But the fractured country is still struggling with several potential obstacles to credible presidential and parliamentary elections, including political rivalries, no permanent national constitution, a struggling economy, corruption, violence,and threats from the so-called Islamic State, al-Qaida and armed groups.

"The political process must progress, as the status quo is untenable," said Saleme.

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