Few Libyans have registered to vote for a constitutional commission, official figures showed Tuesday, as the country grapples with growing unrest two years after the toppling of Moammar Gadhafi. The High National Election Commission’s website said only 436,000 Libyans had signed up out of a total electoral list of 3.4 million ahead of a December 21 deadline. The low level of interest comes despite official calls to register, including a fatwa, or religious decree, issued by the highest religious authority in the Muslim country. Voters are apparently “not motivated enough to register,” said Tarek Metri, who heads the UN mission in Libya.
In less than 40 days, Libya is set to witness the first elections since the ouster of the late Moammar Gahdafi. But are the elections coming too early? Post-conflict elections should mark the pinnacle point in the recovery and reconstruction of Libya. Libyans and the international community look at the election on June 19 as a milestone toward peace and democracy. But some studies show history can paint a gloomy picture of elections held soon after bloody armed struggles, when political institutions may be weak or non-existent. Many believe elections soon after the armed conflict that ended Moammar Gadhafi’s regime would foster the promise of peace and democracy. It would show a democratic transition and effective recontruction, which in turn would assure the international community about the stability of Libya. Elections would also help post-conflict Libya attract much needed foreign assistance and investment to help rebuild the country.
Colonel Moammar Gadhafi’s son said the strongman was willing to hold free elections and step aside if he loses, while Russia and China urged the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to “meticulously adhere” to United Nations’ resolutions authorizing force in the war-torn country.
The moves, which come amid mounting international pressure to find a resolution to Libya’s four-month conflict, could test the unity of alliance states seeking the regime’s ouster.