The POMED Wire

Libyan Committee Begins Drafting Constitution

Libya
Photo Credit: Reuters/Esam Omran al-Fetori

A “special commission” established to draft Libya’s new constitution convened for the first time Sunday in the eastern city of Bayda.  It held an opening ceremony that included tribal elders, government officials, and journalists. The commission is composed of 47 elected committee members “drawn equally from all regions.” It was originally intended to have 60 members, but security concerns in the city of Derna and several other areas in the south “made it impossible to hold elections there.” Additionally, the Amazigh and Tebu minorities “boycotted the committee to demand more rights.” Because the elections were never completed, former lawmaker Tawfiq al-Shahaibi says “anyone can challenge the work of the committee by filing a petition to the constitutional court.” While the committee members were tasked with drafting the constitution in 120 days, “analysts expect the process to take much longer given growing chaos as well as tribal and political divisions.” Ayman al-Warfalli suggests that “the new document’s authors will need to take into account deepening political and tribal rivalries, as well as demands for more autonomy for the east, when deciding what political system Libya will adopt.”

Meanwhile, the General National Congress (GNC) began hearing seven …

Mansour Withdraws Candidacy; Analysts Comment on Egypt’s Future

Sisi
Photo Credit: Reuters/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

Mortada Mansour, a lawyer expected to be the third presidential candidate in Egypt’s upcoming elections, withdrew his candidacy despite already collecting 20,000 signatures. According to Ahram, Mansour “said he had received a sign from God that el-Sisi would win the race.” This leaves Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and Hamdeen Sabahi to compete in the nationwide vote on May 26 and 27.

Daniel Stoker said, “The success of Egypt’s next president will, for the most part, depend on how he addresses the economy. Burdened by instability, lack of foreign investment, high unemployment, acute energy crisis, and crumbling infrastructure, Egypt’s battered economy will require sound macroeconomic policies to recover.” He concluded, “Sisi may represent a return to Mubarak era economic policies,” while Sabahi will likely endorse “Nasserist policies” and added, “Both candidates are likely to receive very little leeway if elected.” Nancy Okail told Al Jazeera, “As prerequisites for economic growth, of course, stability and security are widely demanded…The military, and by extension Sisi, are widely seen as combating the threat presented by the Muslim Brotherhood and other organizations. The element of power – the idea of a delivering to the people a more …

Syria Announces Election Date Amid Continued Violence

Syria's Parliament
Photo Credit: BBC

Speaker of Syria’s parliament Mohammed al-Lahham announced that presidential elections will be held on June 3 and candidates could register to run on Tuesday. Despite the “civil war that has killed 150,000 people and forced one-third of the population from their homes” which began as a demonstration against Assad’s rule, President Bashar al-Assad is seeking another seven-year term.  The logistics of the elections are still unclear “with hundreds of thousands of Syrians living either in rebel-held areas, contested areas, or under blockade by pro-government forces” and 2.5 million refugees in neighboring states. In addition, “the law states that any candidate running for president must have lived in Syria for the past 10 years and cannot have any other citizenship, apparently to prevent opposition figures in exile from running.” The Friends of Syria, which include U.S., U.K., France, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey, stated, “Elections organized by the Assad regime would be a parody of democracy, would reveal the regime’s rejection of the basis of the Geneva talks, and would deepen the division of Syria.”

Albert Aji and Diaa Hadid  wrote that these elections reflect Assad’s “determination to show he is the legitimate leader of Syria” as he “[strengthens] …

Sisi and Sabahi Vie for Egyptian Presidency

Hamdeen Sabahi (19 April 2014)
Photo Credit: BBC

On the final day of registration, former army chief Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi and leftist politician and head of the Popular Current alliance Hamdeen Sabahi, submitted their papers to run for Egypt’s presidential election next month. Election commission spokesman Abdel-Aziz Salman said el-Sisi garnered 188,930 signatures and is “riding a wave of popular support and is the clear front-runner in this year’s vote.” On the other hand, Sabahi who came in third in the 2012 elections after receiving around 5 million votes largely appeals to “Egypt’s secular youth and working class.” Salman said Sabahi submitted 31,555 signatures. Additionally, Sabahi has claimed that “intimidation tactics” were used during the signature collection period and that there has been “bias by state officials in favor of el-Sisi.” Sabahi’s staff “blamed officials with links to former autocrat Hosni Mubarak.” Ayman Nour, another liberal politician and 2005 presidential candidate who opposed Sisi, said he had “appealed to Sabahi to withdraw” to ”avoid providing what they say would be a democratic facade to el-Sisi’s likely victory.” This election cycle, there will be no Islamist candidate, contrary to the “hotly contested 2012 presidential race” which featured more than “a dozen rivals from across the …

15 Libyan Cities Vote in Municipal Elections

Municipal election starts in 15 Libyan cities
Photo Credit: World Bulletin

Today, Libyan voters from 15 cities, including Benghazi, went to the polls to elect municipal council members. 41 more municipalities across the country are due to vote within the next three weeks. For Libya, “the elections pose an organizational and security challenge for a country that is still riven by factional fighting” nearly three years after the civil war that toppled Muammar Gaddafi. For Libyans in Benghazi, the city which is seeking “greater autonomy for the eastern seaboard region” currently has only an interim council with “piecemeal funding from central government,” but the election is meant to “pave the way for fuller and more regular allocations, potentially improving the volatile city’s relationship with Tripoli.” 

According to election commission spokesman Fouad al-Fitouri, Libya’s Municipal Council Law 59/2012 “allows municipal councils in cities with a population more than 250,000 to have nine members, while cities with smaller population are allowed to have municipal councils with seven members only.”

Libyan militias have become “increasingly powerful and violent” in the past several months with the interim prime minister resigning after “gunmen had tried to attack his family.” In cities such as Benghazi and Derna, over 200 people have been …

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