By Sami Zaptia and Nihal Zaroug.
Tripoli, 13 May:
Libya’s High National Election Commission (HNEC) announced Sunday afternoon (13 May) that it was . . .[restrict]extending the voter registration deadline by one week until 21 May.
The HNEC also reported that a total of 1.52 million voters – or about 48 percent of the potential total – had registered by the end of Saturday 12 May – just 48 hours before the original registration deadline.
It also revealed today that 38 percent of the registered voters were women.
The decision to extend the registration by a week follows the earlier one to extend candidate registration to 15 May. According to the HNEC, the move had a profound impact in increasing the number of candidates registering. Up until yesterday, more than 1,400 individual candidates and 71 political entities registered.
Deputy Prime Minister Mustafa Abushagur who yesterday visited the commission and met with its chairman Nuri Elabbar said he was pleased with its work. The topic of extending voter registration was discussed but it is not known whether Abushagur’s visit influenced the decision to extended voter registration.
The Commission also used Sunday’s press conference as a reminder to all local and international election observers, all local and international media, candidates and political entities of the need to present the necessary documents to be properly accredited by the voting districts.
The extension of the registration deadline by the HNEC is seen as confirming to the wider public criticism that the whole election schedule was too short.
The whole campaign did not really get started until well after its launch on 1 May, leaving only 14 days of voter registration with no adequate preceding period of voter awareness or education campaigns. [/restrict]