Delays in Libyan Election, New Party Launched
The head of Libya’s National Transitional Council (NTC) announced Monday that he expected a likely delay in the national assembly election set for June 19. The assembly is tasked with drawing up a new constitution in preparation for an additional election in 2013. Nuri al-Abbar, chairman of the electoral commission, told reporters, “To announce the election date is linked to a number of issues including delivering election materials all over Libya and also training electoral observers…Only after the completion of these issues can we announce the actual date of the elections.” Other delays in the process include several appeals on behalf of candidates challenging disqualification by authorities.
Borzou Daragahi of the Financial Times (subscription) argues that any further delay puts the interests of the political elite above those of the voters, may deepen the security vacuum in which violence still regularly occurs, and potentially scare off critical international investment. Daragahi contends, “tinkering with the election date adds to a long list of what critics describe as overreach by the NTC.”
On other fronts, the results of Benghazi’s first election in over fourty years were announced early last week. Head of Benghazi’s electoral commission, Suleiman Zubi reported that 138,312 people had voted, with a voter turn out between 64-69 percent. In addition, while only one of the 22 female candidates was elected, she gained more votes than any other candidate in the election and became a Benghazi representative to the NTC. Meanwhile, on May15 the Taghyeer Party officially launched. The new party aims to hold a centrist position being neither fully secular, nor a party based entirely on religion. The Taghyeer Party does not intend to put any candidates forward in June’s election, but instead will focus on building its internal structures and institutions for the future.