By Nihal Zaroug.
Tripoli, 23 May:
The High National Electoral Commission (HNEC) released a statement on 21 May commemorating the end of the voter registration phase for the National General Congress elections and paying special tribute to all Libyans, stating that 21 May was an important date in Free Libya’s path to democracy.
Voter registration was initially scheduled to end 14 May but in the hopes of reaching a larger number of voter registrations, registration was extended for a week.
According to the HNEC, the official number of registered voters stands at 2,728,240. A total of 2,639 individual candidates and 374 political entities have also been registered for the election. The number of registered voters represent approximately 80 percent of the potential electorate and has been hailed as a formidable achievement by Ian Martin, head of United Nations Special Mission In Libya (UNSMIL). It is seen as all the more remarkable given Libya’s lack of political experience under the former regime.
Candidate lists were posted late on 22 May on the HNEC’s website and the commission has given the public the opportunity to challenge any candidate within 48 hours of publication of lists. However, it appears that the public is not aware that lists have been released so that they can challenge any entrants. On the HNEC website, the number of times lists have been viewed is low and may indicates that this assumption is correct.
As of today, voter registration lists will be posted in registration centers for four days, to enable registered voters to ensure their data is correct.
The UN has been a critical partner in preparation for the upcoming June elections, especially with the provision of electoral material. Under its supervision and according to international standards, specially commissioned materials have been shipped to Tripoli’s Mitiga airport from Turkey and Belgium. In presence of HNEC Chairman Nuri Elabbar, the last shipment arrived 20 May on a Turkish Airways flight and contained voter supervision training materials made in China. On 18 May, from Belgium arrived 7,244 ballot boxes and 11,000 ballot casting booths. Containers were verified by Salem Bin Taheh (HNEC Operations Manager) and Hamza El Mabrook (Head of Logistical Support for HNEC) to ensure there was no tampering with the electoral material.