Conflict could result from any failure to hold Libya's presidential and parliamentary elections as scheduled, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres' outgoing special envoy warned on Wednesday.
Jan Kubis, whose Nov. 17 resignation was accepted by Guterres on Tuesday, told the Security Council that Libya is at a "delicate and fragile juncture" ahead of its nationwide Dec. 24 polls.
"While risks associated with the ongoing political polarization around the elections are evident and present, not holding the elections could gravely deteriorate the situation in the country and could lead to further division and conflict," he said.
"The Libyan people are yearning for an opportunity to elect their representatives and give them a mandate to govern Libya through democratic legitimacy. The aspiration and determination of the majority of Libyans to participate in the presidential and parliamentary elections as candidates or voters must be fulfilled," added Kubis.
Nearly 100 candidates have registered to run in Libya's presidential elections, including transitional Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah, renegade general Khalifa Haftar, and Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, the son of former strongman leader Muammar Gaddafi.
The presidential and parliamentary elections are set to take place under a UN-sponsored agreement reached by Libyan political rivals last November.
The application deadline for those wishing to run for president was Nov. 22. Nominations for parliamentary polls remain open through Dec. 7.
Libyans hope that the upcoming elections will contribute to ending an armed conflict that has plagued the oil-rich country for years.
Kubis is expected to leave his post Dec. 10.