Libya: On Eve of Elections, UN in Libya Urges Voters to Contribute to Political Process

As Libyans prepare elect tomorrow the national body that will draft the new Constitution, the United Nations office in the country urged calm and called on voters to contribute positively and "provide the suitable atmosphere" for this important event.

"The UN Support Mission (UNSMIL) reaffirms its clear stand of rejecting the threat to use force in the political process, which is contrary to the basic democratic principles," Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Tarek Mitri, said in a statement from the Mission.

Congratulating the Libyan people and the High National Elections Commission (HNEC) for this "long-awaited achievement", he noted that the elections for the Constitution-Drafting Assembly pave the way towards a basic foundation for a modern Libyan State with institutions "based on the rule of law and respect for human rights."

He urged Libyans to prioritize the national interest of Libya "in order to maintain the democratic path and the political process, which is in a critical state."

Voters will select a 60-member constitutional assembly which will then have 120 days to draft a new constitution. The document will be submitted to a popular referendum. If approved, it would help move Libya towards democracy, three years after the toppling of Muammar al-Qadhafi in the February 17 Revolution.

In its statement, UNSMIL reiterated "firm support" for the legitimacy of democratically elected institutions and their role in ensuring the transfer of power to an elected body.

The Mission, mandated to support the people and Government of Libya to ensure the success of the country's democratic transition, said it values the decision by the General National Congress to call for early elections as soon as possible in order to prevent any potential constitutional vacuum.

Briefing the Security Council in December, Mr. Mitri reported on popular frustration with the political process and with the persistence of armed militias, many of which originated in the struggle to overthrow Mr. Qadhafi.

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