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17 Nov 2018 | 10:49 PM UTC

Libya: Elections postponed to Spring 2019

Libyan leaders postpone national elections to Spring 2019 due to spike in violence



The UN Special Envoy to Libya Ghassan Salame indicated on Monday, November 12, during a summit in Italy that Libyan officials reportedly abandoned plans to hold national elections in December 2018 due to the recent measured increase in violence. The two rival government bodies, including the UN-backed Government of National Accord and the House of Representatives, also reportedly failed to agree to a constitutional framework, election dates, and resolutions to promote greater transparency in its economic institutions. UN representatives indicated the two sides will seek to negotiate a date for the elections to be held prior to June 2019.


The Spring 2019 election process and date will likely depend on a Libyan national conference, which the UN envoy currently recommends. No date has been set for either the proposed national elections nor the preceding conference.

The December election date had previously been decided on in Paris in May following talks sponsored by France between the two dominant Libyan factions. The November 12-13 Palermo talks, sponsored by Italy, sought to facilitate discussions toward new election laws. Unification of currency exchange rates prior to elections remain a significant issue as well.

Following the 2011 ouster and killing of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, the security situation in Libya has remained tenuous due to the ensuing civil war. In 2016, the war stabilized as the Government of National Accord (the "Tripoli" government based in western Libya) and the Libyan House of Representatives (the "Tobruk" government based in eastern Libya) emerged as the two dominant factions following the December 17, 2015 Libyan Political Agreement. Since 2016, the UN has made intermittent efforts to reconcile the Tripoli and Tobruk governments.


The security environment in Libya remains complex. Although travel is possible in some areas (with appropriate security protocols in place), other areas should be considered strictly off-limits. Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to travel.

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