Libya struggles to meet election timetable
The first post-Kadhafi vote could be delayed amid a series of appeals by candidates.
By Essam Mohamed for Magharebia in Tripoli – 29/05/12
[AFP/Mahmud Turkia] “Nobody can say between now and June 12th whether the election will be held at its pre-scheduled date or will be postponed,” interim Libyan leader Mustafa Abdel Jalil says.
The timing of Libya’s historic election for a national constituent assembly remains in doubt as officials tussle over appeals and the distribution of representatives.
National Transitional Council (NTC) chief Mustafa Abdel Jalil recently said that the election would be held at its pre-arranged June 19th date and that he would then tender his resignation from the NTC.
“Postponing the election date is an issue for the High Electoral Commission to decide,” Mustafa Abdel Jalil said in Benghazi Sunday (May 27th).
“We’ve scheduled it for June 19th, but given the appeals that have been filed and also given submissions by the Integrity Commission, nobody can say between now and June 12th whether the election will be held at its pre-scheduled date or will be postponed,” the interim Libyan leader said.
Meanwhile, a group of Libyans threatened to stop the transit of oil if equal seats were not given to Cyrenaica to match Tripolitania and Fezzan. In addition, a young man from eastern Libya began a hunger strike two weeks ago demanding equal representation.
Addressing the hunger strike, Abdel Jalil said a representative from the NTC was sent to speak with the youth. “I will also talk to him about the reasons for this hunger strike and will discuss his demands to see whether they are reasonable and can be met or not,” he added.
As for the transition to the new democratic government, Abdel Jalil said that the NTC would hand over tasks to the general congress that will then be tasked with drafting a constitution and re-structuring local administration. He noted that local councils will continue to operate.
The NTC tenure will come to an end as soon as the national congress convenes.
Issa al-Tahir, a member of the High Electoral Commission, denied media reports about a decision on the postponement of election. “The High Electoral Commission hasn’t issued or given any statements about the postponement of election,” he told Magharebia. “The Commission Board held a meeting Sunday, and is holding consultations today, but the date of election was not discussed.”
Mustafa al-Thani, editor in chief ofal-Esboue, said that Abdel Jalil’s visit to Benghazi for the swearing-in of the recently elected local council sent a message supporting federalism. “Libya is one unit, and I think that it will get together in the national congressional election to choose members and then start building the new free, democratic Libya.”
“Benghazi was the spark of revolution and has smoothly held its election,” Khadija Ahmed commented. “We hope that the election will be held at its pre-scheduled date to avoid losing credibility. I also hope that the appeals will be legal and fair, and that the Integrity Commission will do its job in a serious and legal way.”
Meanwhile, Youssef al-Mahmoudi, a revolutionary integrated into the interior ministry’s security committee in Tripoli, said that he “felt proud and victorious when the chancellor said that the revolution came for the sake of humanity” and that he would “talk with the young man about the reasons for his hunger strike”.
“I hope that the chancellor will pay similar attention to all issues in order to bar the road for those who try to stop the election and the building of state,” he added.