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UN chief sees Saturday polls as "milestone in Libya's long march toward democracy

UNITED NATIONS, July 6 — UN Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon on Thursday welcomed the elections slated to be held in Libya Saturday as "a milestone in Libya's long march toward democracy," voicing his hope to see "every Libyan join in building the new Libya."

In a video message to the Libyan people ahead of the July 7 elections, Ban said voting for a new Libyan National Congress was a right they had been denied for more than four decades.

"The secretary-general has said that the United Nations is proud to have assisted in the birth of an independent Libya," Eduardo del Buey, the deputy UN spokesman, said at a daily news briefing here.

"We will stand by you as you build a fully free and democratic state," the UN secretary-general said in the video message to Libyans.

Nearly three million of Libyans have registered to vote, and more than three thousand candidates are competing for office, Ban noted. "That includes more than 600 women. This is, truly, a moment for national celebration."

"We all know the road to democracy is long and hard," Ban said. "We share your aspiration for a peaceful and prosperous Libya founded on the principles of justice, human rights, inclusiveness and accountability."

"This Saturday, make your voice heard. Let every Libyan join in building the new Libya," he said.

The security situation in Libya, about eight months after the civil war that ended the life of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, is still unstable as tribal clashes, anti-interim government and anti-foreigner attacks are reported almost every month.

Last month, the Libyan Higher National Election Commission announced that the forthcoming constituent assembly elections, originally set to be held in late June, are to be postponed to July 7, amid ongoing clashes between army forces and armed groups in the southern city of Kufra, which left at least 47 people killed and more than 100 others injured over the last three days in June. (PNA/Xinhua) CTB/rsm

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