By Umar Khan
Tripoli, 10 June:
The head of the Higher National Election Commission, Nuri Elabbar, today announced that the elections for the National Congress will now take place on Saturday, 7 July. Elabbar told a press conference the decision was taken earlier in the day after a meeting with the National Transitional Council (NTC). He emphasized that the delay was purely technical and logistical. The elections had been scheduled to take place on 19 June.
Elabbar said that the complexities in the constituencies law and the amendments in different laws lay behind the delay. He added that after increasing the voter registration by one week, the final lists of the candidates were also pushed back and it had become impossible to make the deadline.
According to Elabbar, the HNEC had worked hard to reach this point, where the delay in the vote is only three weeks and not longer. He said that the difficulties were massive, given the time the electoral commission had been given: “120 days are not enough to mount elections in any country and in a country like Libya, where there was no infrastructure, it was impossible”.
Nevertheless, the electoral commission had worked very hard to meet the deadline.
“We managed to register more than 2.7 million voters and 4,000 candidates submitted their documents, which went through the vetting process by the Integrity Committee.”
Elabbar also said that the new date had been selected carefully, after making sure that the remaining phase of the process will be completed in time.
The elections are for the 200-seat National Congress, which will be responsible for drafting the constitution of the country, which in turn will determine the future direction of the Libyan state. The role of the National Congress will be much more important than that of the NTC, as it will have the authority to over-write any law passed by them.
Libya Herald broke the story of the delay last week and gave the exact breakdown of the processes causing the delay.