The director of the High Electoral Commission of Libya (HNEC) explained Monday, January 3 to the deputies on the reasons for the postponement of the presidential election, initially scheduled for December 24, citing multiple legal, security and political obstacles .
Libya has been plunged into an interminable political transition since the 2011 revolt which ended 42 years of Muammar Gaddafi’s dictatorship.
Presented as the culmination of a peace process sponsored by the UN, the presidential election of December 24 was postponed in extremis against a background of disagreements between rival camps concerning the ballot that had to contest a hundred candidates, some particularly divisive.
In addition, security incidents and political interference pushed, less than 48 hours before D-Day, the postponement of the poll, said Imad Al-Sayeh, convened Monday by the Parliament sitting in Tobruk, in the east of the country.
Cases of electoral fraud
The electoral process was also weakened by multiple appeals filed in court to invalidate certain controversial candidacies, in particular that of Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi, son of the late dictator. “Twenty-four hours after the opening of the filing of appeals against decisions to exclude candidates, twenty-six appeals had been lodged”, recalled Mr. Sayeh.
Among the controversial candidates were also the outgoing Prime Minister Abdel Hamid Dbeibah, who had promised not to run, and the strongman of eastern Libya, Marshal Khalifa Haftar, author of an abortive offensive in 2019 to conquer Tripoli.
Legal difficulties “Required a longer period” car “Justice has examined the appeals and appeals only on the form, not on the substance”, underlined the director of the HNEC.
He also denounced cases of electoral fraud, sometimes « flagrant », sometimes “Hidden and involving more time to be detected”. “If we had had more time, we could have reduced the number of candidates to twenty and it would have been easier to detect cases of fraud”, he insisted.
On securing polling stations, Mr. Sayeh admitted that despite a “Ambitious plan”, authorities “Came up against the reality on the ground”.
The Election Authority had proposed as a new date on January 24, a proposal rejected by Parliament, which is now considering a “New roadmap”. In front of MPs on Monday, Sayeh admitted the impossibility of an election on January 24 “As long as the obstacles persist”.
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Libya: the head of the electoral authority explains the postponement of the presidential election