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.
Explosions rocked five polling stations in eastern Libya on Thursday as voters began electing a body to draft a new constitution, another step in the OPEC producer’s rocky transition since Muammar Gaddafi fell in 2011. Nobody was wounded in the dawn bomb attacks in the restive town of Derna, residents said, but the incident highlighted the volatile situation in the North African country. Prime Minister Ali Zeidan’s government is struggling to assert its authority over militias which helped topple Gaddafi but kept their weapons and have become major political players.
In a country that has not held an election for nearly half-a-century — not even the sort of sham polls that produce a 90-odd percent vote for the reigning autocrat — national election fever is running high in Libya. On July 7, Libyans will go to the polls in the country’s first free election since the rise and fall of Muammar Gaddafi’s regime. The last elections in Libya were held in 1965. Gaddafi, who came to power in a 1969 coup and stayed put for 42 years, did not even bother with the niceties of conducting a rigged referendum. Libyans will vote to elect members to a 200-seat constituent assembly — or transitional parliament — that will write a new constitution and establish a political road map ahead of full-blown parliamentary elections scheduled for 2013.
Campaigning for the country’s first national election in more than four decades set for on July 7, started Monday as the eligible candidates, 2,501 independents, and 1,206 political association candidates eligible and the 1,206 associated to the 142 parties, Eill be vying for a place on the national assembly that will be entrusted with drafting a constitution. During his 42-year rule, Gaddafi banned direct elections, saying they were bourgeois and anti-democratic. The new assembly will re-draw the autocratic system of rule put in place by the former Libyan dictatorial leader Muammar Gaddafi. The electoral commission said in a statement during a press conference at the weekend, that candidates will have 18 days to campaign, until July 5, that is, two days before the election.
Libya’s first election in more than half a century will take place 18 days later than planned because of the logistical challenges in a country still recovering from last year’s revolt, the electoral commission said on Sunday. The election, for an assembly which will re-draw the autocratic system of rule put in place by ousted leader Muammar Gaddafi, will now take place on July 7 instead of the previous date of June 19. “We never planned on postponing the election, we worked hard for the election to be on time,” Nuri al-Abbar, head of the electoral commission, told a news conference. “I don’t want to blame anybody for the postponement, I just want to make sure the elections are transparent.”
Libyans began registering on Tuesday to vote in June elections for a national assembly, as the country prepared for its first free polls following the removal of Muammar Gaddafi. One registration centre at a Tripoli school was closed after armed former rebel fighters turned up in pickup trucks mounted with anti-aircraft guns. About 1,500 registration centers have been set up across the country for the landmark polls, after which Libya will have a new constitution. People queued up outside, holding their national identity papers and centers for candidate registration also were opened.
Libya’s ruling National Transitional Council (NTC) decided on Sunday to keep the interim government in power in the run up to a June election, its leader said, quashing rumors of a reshuffle that has sowed uncertainty in the strife-torn state. The NTC is the unelected body internationally recognized as the ultimate power in the country after the overthrow of dictator Muammar Gaddafi last year.
Libyans with ties to ousted leader Muammar Gaddafi will be banned from running in elections under a bill drafted by the country’s new rulers. Academics who wrote about Gaddafi’s “Green Book,” containing his musings on politics, economics and everyday life, will also be barred from running under the draft law, published online by the National Transitional Council (NTC) on Sunday night.
“This is a very important law because people are complaining that some of Gaddafi’s figures still occupy high positions,” said Abeir Imnena, a university professor among a number of legal experts, judges and lawyers involved in drafting the bill. “This is to tell people that there’s no room for them [Gaddafi supporters].”
The Emir of Gulf Arab state Qatar said on Tuesday elections to an advisory council would be held in the second half of 2013, the state news agency reported. “From the podium of this council, I declare that we have decided that the Advisory Council elections would be held in the second half of 2013,” Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani said in a speech to the body.
“We know that all these steps are necessary to build the modern state of Qatar and the Qatari citizen who is capable of dealing with the challenges of the time and building the country. We are confident that you would be capable of shouldering the responsibility.” He did not say if the council, which currently has no legislative powers, would be given more weight.
Libya’s National Transitional Council (NTC) has set out steps leading to democratic elections monitored by the United Nations within 18 months.
The plan goes into effect with a “declaration of liberation” which the NTC has not defined precisely, though NTC chairman Abdel Mustafa Jalil told reporters the conditions for such a declaration included the capture or death of Muammar Gaddafi.
The NTC’s Constitution Declaration for governing during the transitional period sets out the main guidelines for the way the country is to be overseen as it emerges from six months of war.
The National Transitional Council promised to hold elections next April to choose a permanent government for the nation ruled by Muammar Gaddafi for 42 years.
Mustafa Abdel Jalil, the TNC chairman made the promise as world leaders prepared to meet to discuss Libya’s future after Gaddafi. “In eight months we will hold legislative and presidential elections,” Mr Jalil said.