Libya’s electoral commission has asked the government for $28.7 million, saying that without funding to boost its “zero” budget it cannot make plans to prepare for a vote on a new constitution and later elections. Western powers and the United Nations hope Libya will hold a national election by June after a referendum on a constitutional framework to chart a way out of a conflict stemming from the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. A French plan, backed by the United Nations, had initially called for a presidential and parliamentary vote on Dec 10. But weeks of fighting in the capital Tripoli between competing groups and almost no progress between the North African country’s two rival parliaments made that impossible.
Articles about voting issues in Libya.
The U.N. envoy for Libya hopes another attempt to hold an election will take place by June after he scrapped a December plan, but said Libyans should first use a national conference in early 2019 to decide on the poll’s format. U.N. Special Envoy Ghassan Salame decided to abandon a plan to hold elections on Dec. 10 after a spike in violence in Libya, which has been gripped by conflict and paralysed by political deadlock since the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. Salame was speaking to Reuters before the start of a conference in Palermo organised by Rome with the aim of pushing forward a new U.N. plan. Salame said last week this plan would include an election in the spring, without elaborating.
Conditions in Libya are too unstable to hold elections, Prime Minister Fayez Seraj was cited as saying on Wednesday, casting doubts on a French-led push for a vote in December which aims to end years of turmoil and unify the North African country. French President Emmanuel Macron hosted a conference in May where rival Libyan factions agreed to work with the United Nations for a national election by Dec. 10. Libya splintered following the 2011 NATO-backed revolt that toppled Muammar Gaddafi, and since 2014 has been divided between competing political and military groups based in Tripoli and the east. “You can not vote with instability in the streets … it is necessary that everyone accepts the result of the ballot. We need shared rules,” Seraj, who leads the U.N.-brokered transitional government based in Tripoli, said in an interview with Italian daily Corriere della Sera.
The head of one of Libya’s main political movements has alleged widespread fraud involving national identity cards, saying this could jeopardize elections that may be held late this year. Mahmoud Jibril, a former interim leader of the country, called for a thorough investigation into the abuses which could also have led to hundreds of thousands of fraudulent claims for welfare payments. The United Nations and rival Libyan factions say they hope presidential and parliamentary elections can be held on Dec. 10 in a step toward reunifying and stabilizing Libya, which has been in turmoil since a NATO-backed revolt toppled Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.
Libyan rival factions agreed on Tuesday to hold elections on 10 December. The agreement was made at a Paris meeting called by the French president Emmanuel Macron. An adviser to UN-recognised Libyan prime minister Fayez al-Serraj said the agreement included the finalisation of a constitution by 16 September. Serraj, eastern-based military commander Khalifa Haftar and the heads of two parliamentary assemblies attended the talks. “The parties have committed to set the constitutional basis for elections and adopt the necessary electoral laws by 16 September and hold parliamentary and presidential elections on 10 December,” an eight-point joint statement read.
Islamic State suicide bombers attacked Libya’s election commission in the capital on Wednesday, killing at least 14 people in the worst such attack in years that aimed to disrupt a nation-wide vote planned for later this year. The two bombers infiltrated the building in central Tripoli and fired on people inside, then detonated their explosives when their ammunition ran out, IS said in a statement circulated by its affiliated Amaq news agency. The Health Ministry earlier said the attack also set fire to the building, which could be seen in online videos showing thick black smoke billowing upward and security forces engaging in a gun battle. IS and other Islamic extremists in Libya oppose democratic elections, which the United Nations and Libya’s foreign backers are urging to take place this year despite security problems in the oil-rich North African country. Militants have often targeted elections in other countries, and IS has called for attacks on voting infrastructure in Libya.
Libya’s electoral commission announced Sunday it was scrapping the results from 24 polling stations due to fraud in a parliamentary election contested at 1 600 stations in June. An investigation has been launched and those responsible for the alleged fraud will be put on trial, said commission chief Imed al-Sayeh. Sayeh was speaking at a news conference to announce preliminary results for the June 25 election, which was marred by a poor turnout, violence and the murder of a leading women’s rights activist.
Polling is under way in Libya to elect a new national parliament despite much of the country being in the grip of the worst violence since the 2011 uprising. Polling stations opened at 6am GMT on Wednesday, with 1.5 million registered voters choosing from the 1,628 candidates contesting 200 seats in parliament. The vote is Libya’s third legislative election since the declaration of liberation that ended the 2011 uprising against the former Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi. The 200-seat House of Representatives will replace the General National Congress which has become deadlocked in recent months in disputes between Islamist members and their opponents. On June 21 and 22, 11,000 registered Libyan voters in 13 foreign countries cast their votes in 22 voting stations, according to the Higher National Elections Committee.
Emad Al-Sayeh, head of the Libyan electoral commission, has affirmed that they are ready to go as planned with regards to the June 25 elections. Barely a week before the legislative elections in Libya, militias are involved in serious gun battles inciting fears that certain regions will not be able to vote. More than half of the eligible voters have registered for the elections while the minority Berbers or Amazighs have decided to boycott it if their demand are not met.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday urged Libya to stick to its plan to hold parliamentary elections on June 25 and defended the United Nations’ goal of organizing a meeting to promote reconciliation among the North African country’s competing factions. “The secretary-general continues to follow closely the situation in Libya and stresses the importance of the peaceful and timely holding of elections on 25 June,” U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq told reporters. “He also commends UNSMIL’s (U.N. Support Mission in Libya) work in the areas of good offices and facilitation of dialogue, which it carries out with impartiality and openness to all national parties concerned,” he added.