Tripoli, 8 July:
Some 1.7 million Libyans voted in Libya on Saturday out of a potential total of 2.8 million according to the head of the High National Election Commission, Nuri Elabbar. Speaking at a press conference this afternoon in Tripoli, he said the election had been “a great success” and that voters had shown “a great degree of responsibility”.
People, he said, had doubted that the commission could deliver the election on 7 July. “We did it.”
There had been problems in some places, he admitted, referring mainly to those polling stations in the east of the country which had been forced to close because of federalists who had attacked them or prevented election material getting through. Yesterday, Elabbar had reported that 24 out of 1,554 centres throughout the country had been unable to operate as a result of the attacks or for other reasons.
He disclosed today that 16 had in fact managed to open later in the day and stayed till late at night to allow local residents to vote. Some stayed open all night. He paid tribute to those people in Benghazi and Ajdabiya who had been determined to vote and not be intimidated. Their determination had been surprising.
Moreover, eight polling centres that had not been able to open yesterday, he said, had opened today, Sunday — six in Sidra and two in the Tebu districts of Kufra. ”We consider that all Libya had now participated, with no exceptions.”
Last week Tebus had threatened to boycott the poll over continued violence in Kufra and the fact that a thousand of them had been disqualified from voting. Early yesterday, however, it was reported that following negotiations with Tebu leaders, the two Kufra polling stations would open. However, by evening, Elabbar reported that it had not happened because Tebus had refused to allow ballot papers and other election material into their areas: they were still angry about the disqualifications.
Elabbar regretted the fact that a third of the registered electorate had not voted — “we wish it had been more” — but said it was their choice.
Polling stations, he said, had now started sorting out the ballots and were counting them. Already the results from Constituency No. 1, Tobruk, had been sent to the main counting centre in Tripoli. Some results might be available this evening, he disclosed. He thought that 90 percent of the result would be available by Monday night.