Libyans ‘Ignore’ War To Make Municipal Elections A Success

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Libyans ‘Ignore’ War to Make Municipal Elections a Success

Sunday, 21 April, 2019 – 10:45
A group of members of the Central Committee for Municipal Elections are seen during an election simulation in local school, Tripoli, Libya February 3, 2019. REUTERS/Hani Amara
Cairo – Jamal Jawhar
Municipal elections were held on Saturday in seven cities south Libya despite humanitarian suffering caused by fierce military battles in the capital Tripoli between the Libyan National Army (LNA) and forces loyal to the internationally-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA).

Fifty-nine polling stations were opened from nine am to six pm to receive some 138.61 voters in Brak al-Shati, Edri al-Shati, al-Rahibat, Ubari, al-Garda al-Shati, al-Shwairif, and Zelton.

The Central Commission of Municipal Councils Elections (CCMCE) tweeted that the voting process continued throughout the day without obstacles or crises amid a remarkable turnout of citizens.

UN envoy to Libya Ghassan Salame hailed Saturday the keenness of Libyans to hold municipal elections despite the current conflict in the country.

Seven municipalities held elections, Salame tweeted on his official twitter account, lauding their persistence to take part in these elections.

CCMCE held municipal elections in nine municipalities in southern and western Libya in late March, the first in five years. The participation rate back then exceeded 40 percent and was under the supervision of the GNA Presidential Council.

Libyan journalist Idris Jabaji, who lives in the southern city of Sabha, wrote on his Facebook page on Saturday that the city’s municipal elections will take place on April 27, announcing his support for one of the competing lists.

The CCMCE had complained about the lack of funds needed to hold the elections and called on the government to provide 50 million dinars ($36 million).

Holding these elections was the first phase of the UN road map, which was supposed to precede adopting a permanent constitution and holding presidential and parliamentary elections before the outbreak of war in Tripoli.

The UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) called on the government to provide funding for the municipal elections while it has been providing technical support along with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) to the CCMCE since March 2018.

Notably, there are 120 local councils in Libya all of which have begun operating in 2013 to replace the councils established by Muammar Gaddafi’s regime. Some of them held elections in 2014.

The municipal council is composed of seven members, who in turn elect their president internally.