By Ahmed Elumami.
Tripoli, 21 October 2013:
Since nominations opened on 6 October for the elections to the 60-member assembly which is to devise Libya’s new constitution, 133 have so far been received.
At a press conference today, the head of the High National Election Commission (HNEC), Nuri Elabbar, said that of these, 33 so far – 30 men and 3 women – had been approved after checking with the Political Isolation Law Standards Authority. Ninety-eight candidates still needed to be vetted, he added, among them eight women and six Tebus and Tuaregs. No candidates, however, from the three ethnic minorities – Amazigh, Tebus, and Tuaregs – had so far been registered, he disclosed.
The deadline for nominations was to be tomorrow, he added, but had been extended until the end of the month to take account of the Eid holiday break.
In addition to six of the assembly seats reserved for women, two each have also been reserved for the three ethnic minorities even though their numbers differ massively. The number of Amazigh in Libya is estimated at anything between 150,000 and 500,000 while the number of Tebus is put at around 15,000. Not that numerical balance is an objective in electing the assembly. Of the 60 seats, 20 will be drawn from each of the three historic provinces of Tripolitania, Cyrenaica and Fezzan, even though there are massive differences in their population sizes.
Given the low number of Tuareg and Tebu candidates, and none at all from the Amazigh, Elabbar today called for more to register.
However, in June, the Supreme Amazigh Council, along with the Supreme Tuareg Council and the Tebu National Assembly, threatened to boycott the poll if they were not given more than two seats each.
Two months ago, moreover, Congress was stormed by dozens of young Amazigh after hundreds of others protested outside the building against the law allocating the seats .
HNEC is following the lead of the Central Committee for Municipal Councils Elections (CCMCE) headed by Otman Gajiji by having would-be voters use their mobile phones to text their National ID number followed by their election district number to register. HNEC would shortly announce the individual number of each electoral district, Ellabar said. Registration would then start “within days”.
Libyans living in 13 countries abroad will be able to take part in the elections: Egypt, Tunisia, Jordan, UAE, Qatar, Malaysia, Turkey, Italy, Germany, UK, Ireland, Canada and the USA. The commission was collaborating with the UN’s International Organisation for Migration to organise the poll in these countries, Ellaber said.
HNEC is also to launch a campaign to increase awareness about voter registration, he said.