Politics & Economics

After 5 years, Libya is preparing for national elections

North Africa

The Central Committee for Municipal Elections in Libya is preparing to hold municipal elections throughout the country for the first time in five years.

Five years since the last election, the Central Committee for Municipal Elections in Libya is preparing to organise municipal elections in 30 municipalities in the western and southern regions of the country. While there are over 120 municipalities overall, and 90 with expired mandates in the country, organisers say that they are not able to carry out elections everywhere.

“There are more than 120 municipalities, 90 municipalities have recently finished their legal mandate,” said Salim bin Tayha, the head of the Central Committee for Municipal Elections in Libya. “So wherever we can work, we’ll start working. However, where we cannot work, we will postpone and resolve outstanding problems.”
According to the organisers, since the split between the East-based Tobruk Government and the West-based Tripoli Government, they have not been able to conduct elections throughout the country. This is due to the military rule that was imposed on areas currently captured by the Haftar-led Libyan National Army (LNA).

“The electoral process needs guarantees to achieve the principle of electoral justice, which is effectively absent in the case of the military rule,” said Hussein bin Atiya, the mayor of the Tajura Municipality. “Unfortunately, the military rule still exists in the eastern region.”

While the Libyan leaders recently met in Abu Dhabi to discuss a solution for the political deadlock in the country, the results of the meeting have not led to any changes on the ground. The Committee for Municipal Elections says that many candidates have been threatened the LNA because they have not declared their support for Khalifa Haftar. This was highlighted when the LNA sacked and replaced the elected Mayor of the city of Murzuq in south-west Libya.

Furthermore, a video was released of Khalifa Haftar’s social advisor telling people that if a candidate does not support Haftar’s Karamah Operations then they will not receive any support from them.

While citizens and international observers hope that the political deadlock will end soon, it is up to the political leaders to enact reform, despite having failed to do so several times.

Nonetheless, the preparation for these elections is a positive step towards a democratic transition in the country.