By Sami Zaptia.
London, 24 November 2020:
The first virtual meeting of the second round of the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF) to discuss the selection criteria of the unified executive authorities for the preparatory period preceding the elections started yesterday.
In her opening remarks to the meeting, Acting UNSMIL head Stephanie Williams welcomed the progress made in the first in-person round in Tunisia, especially the consensual agreement on a roadmap for the preparatory period and on setting a date for the national elections to be held on December 24, 2021.
“You made significant steps forward and raised the Libyan people’s hopes and expectations for the holding of national elections. There is much work left to be done to alleviate the suffering of Libyans,” Williams said, addressing the participants.
Social media threats
Responding to participants’ concerns over threats and reputational-damage campaigns on social media, Williams highlighted that UNSMIL does not tolerate the use of hate speech and incitement to violence that targets LPDF members. She reported that the Mission has reported a number of such posts for removal and will continue to do so.
Regarding allegations of bribery, the Williams announced that these reports have been referred to the UN Panel of Experts, given that such activities, if proven to have occurred, could constitute obstruction of the political process and be subject to sanctions. She also noted that the UNSMIL had been in touch with the Libyan Acting Attorney General to address the issue. She reassured the participants that, “As soon as we have any information with regard to these allegations, you will be the first to know.”
The second round adjourned to Wednesday 25 November 2020 to allow participants to study the selection options presented in yesterday’s meeting.