Tripoli, 30 June:
Elections in Libya: 7 July National Conference Elections
Frequently Asked Questions
Who will Libyans elect on 7 July?
On 7 . . .[restrict]July Libyan citizens will have the opportunity to elect a 200-member National Conference. The National Conference election represents the first national election in Libya since the revolution and fall of the former regime, as well as the first general election since 1952, which was limited to male voters over the age of 21.
Out-of-country voting will also take place over five days, from 3-7 July, 2012, in the following six countries: Canada, Germany, Jordan, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and the United States.
What is the National Conference and what is its mandate?
The National Conference will replace the current, unelected National Transitional Council (NTC). One of the National Conference’s principle responsibilities will be to appoint a 60-member body responsible for drafting the new constitution for Libya and approving the draft by a two-thirds majority before submitting it to a national referendum.
The constitution is to be drafted and adopted within a period not to exceed 120 days from the National Conference’s first meeting. The draft constitution will be submitted to a referendum within 30 days from the date of adoption.
Who is currently the leading authority in Libya?
During this transitional period in Libya, the country is governed by the NTC, which was formed by a constitutional declaration on 3 August 2011. On 22 November 2011, the NTC appointed an interim government led by newly-appointed Prime Minister Abdurrahim El-Keib.
What is the legal framework for the GNC elections in Libya?
The legal framework for the National Conference elections is composed of the following decrees and complemented by regulations and decisions of the High National Elections Commission (HNEC):1
(1 See Resources section for links to full-text versions of these laws and regulations. )
Constitutional Declaration (3 August 2011) – Outlines the constitutional and legal framework governing the transitional period between the end of the revolution and adoption of a new constitution by an elected government.
Constitutional Amendment 1/2012 (13 March 2012) – Amends Article 30 of the constitutional declaration which deals with the transfer of power from the NTC to the GNC and spells out the timeline for drafting the constitution, and holding the constitutional referendum and general elections.
Law 3/2012 (7 February 2012) – Establishes the HNEC and deals with the selection and composition, structure and powers of the board and chairman, prohibitions and termination of the HNEC.
Law 4/2012 (1 February 2012) – Explains the election system, voter and candidate eligibility, voter registration, polling, campaigning, appeals, crimes and observation for the National Conference elections.
Law 14/2012 (12 March 2012) – Specifies electoral constituencies for the National Conference elections.
Law 26/2012 (4 April 2012) – Allows for the creation of the High Commission for the Implementation of Integrity and Patriotism Standards, the body responsible for ensuring candidates and government employees do not have ties to the former regime or any criminal background.
Law 28/2012 (17 April 2012) – Amendment of Law 4/2012 regarding regulations of the election of the National Conference and replaces the text of Article 32 of Law 4/2012.
Law 29/2012 (2 May 2012) – Outlines the regulations, roles and restrictions on political parties.
NTC Decision 177/2011 (15 November 2011) – Covers the standards of integrity and patriotism required from those serving in governmental positions, and outlines the standards and criteria to ensure the integrity and patriotism of all government officials.
NTC Decision 13/2012 – Regarding the appointment of the chairman and members of the board of the HNEC.
NTC Decision 35/2012 – Amends NTC Decision No. 13 on naming the president and members of the High National Elections Commission to elect the National Conference.
Following from and expanding on the preceding laws, the following regulations of the HNEC further define the legal framework for the National Conference elections:
HNEC Regulation 18/2012 (March 2012) – Addresses the structure of HNEC sub-commissions and describes the structure and location of the 13 HNEC sub-administration offices.
HNEC Regulation 19/2012 (26 March 2012) – Outlines the rules, process and locations of voter registration in Libya for the National Conference elections.
HNEC Regulation 23/2012 (19 April 2012) – Explains the authorities and scope of work of the main subcommittees of the 13 electoral districts.
HNEC Regulation 38/2012 (23 April 2012) – Describes the rules for candidates to be nominated and how to register as independent or political entity list candidates.
HNEC Regulation 51/2012 (25 April 2012) – Describes the process, requirements and procedures of accreditation for domestic and international observers and candidate and entity agents.
HNEC Regulation 57/2012 (28 April 2012) – Explains the role of media and the restrictions on their conduct for these elections.
HNEC Regulation 59/2012 (29 April 2012) – Explains the rules, timeline, conduct and responsibilities of candidates and political entities during the campaign period.
HNEC Regulation 67/2012 (15 May 2012) – Describes how polling station committees should conduct polling and count ballots on Election Day.
HNEC Regulation 72/2012 (21 May 2012) – Describes the process of publishing preliminary voter lists and how voter names may be challenged.
HNEC Regulation 75/2012 (23 May 2012) – Explains how, where and why out-of-country voting should take place for expatriate Libyans.
HNEC Regulation 93/2012 (25 June 2012) – Describes the process for submitting complaints; how HNEC will process complaints; and possible sanctions that may result from violations.
Which institution has the legal mandate to conduct National Conference elections and how is it structured?
The High National Election Commission (HNEC) is the body responsible for conducting the National Conference election. The HNEC is governed by an 11-member board of commissioners appointed by the NTC on 7 February 2012.
(According to Electoral Law 3/2012, the HNEC was originally to be comprised of 17 members. Only 15 of 17 members were appointed on February 7, 2012, and then on April 25, 2012, the board of commissioners was restructured and the total number of commissioners reduced to 11. In May 2012, one commissioner resigned. A new commissioner, Wesam Al-Saghir, was appointed on 16 June 2012. )
The HNEC Secretariat is responsible for the implementation of the election under the supervision of the board of commissioners. The secretariat oversees 13 sub-administration offices, (or district offices), throughout Libya that will implement the election down to the polling station level. Currently, there are 102 HNEC staff members, including 76 men and 26 women at headquarters, and more than 600 staff in 13 sub-administration offices. There will be an additional 38,000 temporary staff hired to assist with Election Day across 6,629 polling stations.
How many electoral constituencies have been established?
The 200-member National Conference will be elected in 73 electoral constituencies. Nineteen of these sub-constituencies will have only a majoritarian contest. Four will have only a proportional contest and the remaining 50 sub-constituencies will have both proportional and majoritarian contests.
What type of electoral system will be used in the July election?
The electoral system is a mixed majoritarian and proportional representation (PR) system. The majoritarian system is divided into first-past-the-post and single non-transferrable voting systems.
One hundred and twenty seats will be selected through a majoritarian system in 69 constituencies. Voters will have one vote and will mark their ballot for the candidate of their choice. The candidate(s) who receive the most votes will be elected. Of these 69 constituencies, 40 constituencies have one seat for a total of 40 elected representatives; the other 29 constituencies have more than one seat (based on population figures), for a total of 80 elected representatives.
The remaining 80 seats will be selected through a PR system in 20 constituencies.3 Voters will mark their ballot for the political entity of their choice and can only vote once. For the PR race, political entities will win seats in proportion to votes won. The ballot will only show the names of the political entities; winners will be selected from the lists according to their position on the lists. Based on Election Law 3/2012, political entities must submit candidate lists that alternate between men and women in equal numbers.
(The 20 PR constituencies overlap with the 69 majoritarian constituencies and therefore do not add up to the 73 sub-constituencies in the country.)
The Right to Vote: Who is eligible to vote?
According to Article 9 of Election Law 4/2012, an eligible voter must be: a Libyan citizen; 18 years of age; legally competent; registered to vote; unaffiliated with military institutions; and never convicted of a felony or misdemeanor involving moral turpitude unless rehabilitated.
How was voter registration conducted?
Voter registration was conducted nationwide from 1-21 May 2012. Eligible voters were able to register in person in the constituency of their choice, where they must also vote. Over 1,540 voter registration centers were open to conduct this process throughout Libya. Of the estimated 3.3 million eligible voters, 2.866 million registered to vote; of which 45 percent are women.
Registered voters were permitted to inspect the voter list where they registered during the exhibition and challenges period from May 22-26. During the exhibition period, voters were allowed to contest the inclusion of any individual whom they did not believe was eligible to vote.
Can internally displaced persons register and vote?
For the purpose of the National Conference election, an internally displaced person is any person who, due to the 2011 conflict, has been forced to move from their home or place of habitual residence from one of five locations in Libya, and is unable to return home “due to clear moral peril,” as determined by the HNEC. The locations identified by the HNEC as sources of internally displaced persons are: Misrata, Tawerga, Khallesh (Al-Asabi’a), Msheshia (Yefran), Bani Walid and Al-Rumiyah.
An internally displaced person can register and vote, like any other Libyan citizen, provided he/she meets all eligibility requirements. They may also register and vote at one of 14 special registration centers in Tripoli, Benghazi, Khoms, Sabha, Gherian and Sirte. These centers have been identified by the HNEC for internally displaced persons to register and vote for their home constituency. In addition, a special provision will be made for internally displaced persons from Bani Walid who will be able to register and vote only at an identified special center in Hay Dimasq, Tripoli.
Like all Libyan voters, displaced persons must show their family book or civil registry ID to prove citizenship. In addition, photo ID is required to prove identity. Acceptable photo ID includes a family book photograph, passport, personal identification document or a national number card.
In addition, the family book or civil registry ID must state their place of origin as one of the five accepted locations stated above. Cards from LibAid (the NGO registering internally displaced persons in Libya) are not accepted as proof of identity.
Can Libyans living abroad vote in the National Conference elections?
In accordance with Libyan election law, Libyans living abroad have the opportunity to register and vote in the National Conference election. Due to the short time frame and the cost and distance of travel for out-of-country voters, the HNEC decided that voters will be able to register and vote at the same time, so that only one trip to a registration and polling center will be necessary. Out-of-country voting will take place over a five-day period ending on Election Day in Libya, from 3-7 July 2012. Daily hours of operation will be published on the HNEC website.
To be registered to vote out-of-country, one must be a Libyan national and at least 18 years of age at the time of voting. To establish identity, official photo ID is required. To establish nationality, prospective voters need to produce a family book or copy of the family book; an official document issued by the Libyan Civil Registry Office; or a Libyan passport.
The HNEC selected six countries in which out-of-country voting will be conducted: Canada, Germany, Jordan, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and the United States. Out-of-country voting operations will take place in the capital cities of the selected countries, except in the case of United Arab Emirates, where voting will take place in Dubai. Libyans who are living outside of the six countries can come back to Libya to vote if they are registered. Voter registration in Libya ended on May 21, 2012. Once registered, voters will have to return to vote in the same location.
Out-of-country voting is being implemented by the International Organisation for Migration on behalf of the HNEC. All decisions, regulations, procedures, materials and ballots will be approved by the HNEC in Tripoli.
How will out-of-country voters know what type of ballot or ballots to use and who the candidates or political entities are?
Before the election, the HNEC will publish a list of all candidates and entities registered to contest each constituency on their website (www.hnec.ly). Additionally, each out-of-country voting site will have HNEC staff to help voters identify the sub-constituency for which they wish to vote and provide a booklet listing all eligible candidates and political entities for that sub-constituency. Depending on the sub-constituency, the voter will be provided with either one or two ballots.
The Right to Stand: Who can be a candidate?
To be nominated for the National Conference elections, one must be a Libyan national, in accordance with the provisions of Election Law No. 4/2012. Candidates must be at least 21 years of age, literate and cannot be a member of the NTC or the interim government. Candidates may not be former members of the executive office or chairpersons of local councils, nor may they be members of the HNEC, its sub-committees or polling center committees. They must fulfill national integrity criteria and conditions adopted by the NTC through decision No. 177/2011. Candidates are subject to the endorsement of the HNEC for implementation of integrity and patriotism criteria.
Can internally displaced persons register as a candidate?
Internally displaced persons may be nominated as a candidate for one of five constituencies identified above by the HNEC. They must submit their paperwork to a HNEC sub-administration office in Tripoli, Benghazi, Sabha, Khoms, Gherian or Sirte.
Who registered to compete for the National Conference elections?
There are 2,501 independent candidates and 142 political entities who have successfully registered to contest these elections. From political entities, there are 377 candidate lists with 1,206 candidates registered in 20 proportional races.
Over 80 women have registered as individual candidates in the National Conference election. There is no quota for women candidates; however, all political entity lists must respect a rule of alternating between male and female candidates both horizontally and vertically. More than 500 women candidates have registered as political entity list candidates. In total, 545 of 3,708 candidates are women.
(If a political entity has registered in more than one constituency, half of their candidate lists must begin with a female candidate and half with male candidate. )
What are the rules on campaigning?
The campaign period takes place from 18 June-5 July 2012. Campaigning begins as soon as the HNEC announces the final list of candidates and political entities and ends 24 hours before the start of Election Day. Election advertising must not contain anything that affects national unity or leads to discord or conflict among the voters.
Mosques, schools, colleges, institutes and military camps may not be used for election campaigning and it is prohibited to abuse power or use public offices to engage in any activity of campaigning to influence voters in favor of any candidate.
On Election Day, no candidate may distribute or have others distribute campaign literature or print advertising. It is not permissible for any government staff, including local councils, political organizations and civil society organizations to publish advertisements or distribute campaign literature on Election Day. No one is permitted to distribute any advertisements or campaign literature in the name of a candidate who has withdrawn from the election. Additionally, rallies or gatherings are not permitted to take place near polling and counting stations.
How will voters know who the candidates and political entities are on Election Day?
A list of all individual candidates and political entities were published in newspapers before the start of the campaign period. In addition, all polling stations will have posters listing the candidates and political entities running in that particular constituency.
What are the rules for campaign finance?
Political entities and candidates may accept financial donations from Libyans, but are forbidden to receive any support or funds from foreign or illegal sources. Financing the election campaign by means of public funds, ministries, treasuries, government companies, institutions or bodies is also strictly prohibited.
Candidates and political entities must open a bank account for the sole purpose of receiving and disbursing monies related to campaign finance. All sources of financing, including donations both in-kind and cash, must be disclosed to the HNEC.
All financial information for the election campaign must be made available to the public by the HNEC. The campaign expense limit for independent candidates and political entities is set by the HNEC for each constituency and published on the HNEC website.
The final financial report of an individual or political entity must be submitted to the HNEC within 15 days of the announcement of the final results of the election. The HNEC will review and audit the financial reports of the candidates and political entities, and retains the right to publish the data on its website.
What are the basic rules for polling on Election Day?
Polling stations will open at 8:00 a.m. and close at 8:00 p.m. on 7 July 2012. Voters must bring their voter registration card and photo ID to the polling center where they are registered to vote.
Voters will be directed to a polling station inside the polling center that matches the number on their voter registration card. Once in the polling station, voters will be checked for traces of voter ink and marked off the voter registry with their photo ID. Voters whose fingers show traces of voter ink will not be allowed to vote.
Depending on their constituency, voters will be given one or two ballots and instructions on how to vote, and then proceed to mark their ballot(s) behind the voting screen. Polling staff will confirm that the marked ballots are folded and stamped with the HNEC stamp. Voters will then have their index finger inked to show they have voted, and will place their ballots in the respective ballot box (one for each ballot, where two ballots are required).
If a voter loses or misplaces the voter card, a polling official may search the registered voter’s name on the polling center’s list of voters and direct him or her to the correct polling station. Individuals who do not have voter cards and are not found on the voter list will not be allowed to vote.
How and when will polling stations be set up?
Prior to Election Day, 6,629 polling stations will be set up in Libya to accommodate up to 600 registered voters each. Polling centers will mostly be set up in schools and will be divided into female and male stations with a unique numbered code.
What will the ballots look like and how should they be marked?
Each constituency will have a different ballot. Majoritarian ballots are orange and proportional ballots are blue. Ballots will be either single sheets of A4 or A3, or an A4 booklet, depending on the number of candidates or political entities for the constituency.
Voters should mark their ballots with a tick/check mark in the box next to their choice. Only one choice may be marked on the ballot. Ballots with written remarks or unclear choices will not be counted.
Who is responsible for managing and staffing polling stations?
Each polling station will consist of a polling station manager who will oversee an identification officer, a ballot paper issuer and a ballot box controller/inking officer. Polling staff are provided by the Ministry of Education.
What provisions have been made to accommodate voters with a physical or mental disability?
With the approval of the polling station manager, individuals with special needs and/or illiterate individuals who are not able to mark their ballots may use a companion to help them mark and cast their vote.
Companions providing assistance may be anyone the voter trusts and who will respect the secrecy of the voter, such as a friend or relative. The person offering assistance can only help one voter to vote. If no such person is available, the voter may ask the polling station manager for assistance. Observers and agents may not assist voters.
Who provides security for the polling station?
Polling station security will be provided by the Libyan National Police and the polling center staff.
What are the basic rules for counting?
Counting is done in the polling station by the polling station committee immediately after the close of polling.
In stations with both majoritarian and proportional voting, there will be two ballot boxes; each box will be counted separately. In some cases, where women-only stations are concerned, staff from one station may count on behalf of another polling station.
How will results be calculated?
Result sheets will be transported to the tally center at the HNEC for immediate data entry. Two different data entry clerks will enter data to ensure accuracy. Any discrepancies in the number of votes cast and the number of valid, invalid and spoiled ballots will be investigated by HNEC audit teams.
When will results be known?
Preliminary results will be announced by the HNEC as soon as they are known for each constituency. The HNEC intends to announce all preliminary results within seven days of Election Day. According to Article 33 of Election Law 4/2012, final results will be announced within 10 days of the preliminary results.
Where will results be published?
Polling station results will be publically posted at polling centers immediately following the completion of the count at the polling station. Constituency and nationwide results will be announced first at the HNEC Media Center, and then published on the HNEC website. The website will also show results down to the polling station level.
Can the results be challenged?
Challenges to the final results may be submitted to local courts within 48 hours of their announcement.
What constitutes an electoral offence on Election Day?
An electoral offence is any violation of a regulation passed by the HNEC or Law No. 3/2012 on the Establishment of the HNEC; Law No. 4/2012 National Conference Elections; or Law No. 14/2012 on Constituencies.
Electoral offences are investigated by the HNEC after the submission of a complaint. The HNEC may also initiate its own investigations if it determines there is sufficient evidence that a violation has occurred.
Who is authorized to investigate electoral offences and impose penalties?
In most cases, a panel of three HNEC staff in the district office will review the complaint and make a decision. The HNEC Board of Commissioners may conduct follow-up investigations of electoral violations and impose penalties, where necessary.
What kinds of penalties can the HNEC impose?
The HNEC may impose a number of different penalties when a violation has occurred, including but not limited to:
? Issue a written warning to the person or political entity who has committed the violation
? Order a recount of a polling station
? Cancel the result of a polling station
? Impose fines
HNEC imposed penalties will be communicated, in writing, directly to the person or persons who committed the violation. A summary of the decision will also be published on the HNEC website and in local newspapers.
How are complaints submitted to the HNEC?
Complaints must be submitted in writing to any HNEC sub-administration office, using the HNEC complaints form. Forms will be available at all HNEC district offices and polling centers. Complaints must be submitted within 48 hours of the violation or the HNEC decision being challenged. In sensitive cases, the names of complainants and witnesses will be kept secret.
Will the HNEC accept all complaints?
The HNEC may reject any complaint that does not comply with the HNEC Regulation on Election Complaints, Disputes and Adjudications. Cases which are not within the jurisdiction of the HNEC will be referred directly to the courts or relevant authorities.
Can a decision on a complaint be appealed?
Yes. HNEC decisions on complaints can be appealed in district courts.
Who will observe the GNC election?
The election will be observed by representatives of domestic civil society and international organisations, agents of political entities and candidates, and the media. Observers are accredited by the HNEC to observe the electoral process, including registration, campaigning, polling, counting and tabulation of results. Only political entities and candidates registered by the HNEC are entitled to nominate agents to observe the elections.
How does someone become an observer?
Members of domestic civil society organisations must be registered with the Ministry of Culture and Civil Society. Organisations will appoint an authorised representative who will submit a completed application form for accreditation to HNEC sub-administration offices. Authorised representatives will collect the HNEC accreditation cards and provide further instructions to their observers.
The HNEC Accreditation Unit of the Central Administration Office in Tripoli will accredit international observers, international media and special guests of the HNEC. International observer missions will be sent by the European Union, the Arab League and The Carter Center.
What are the responsibilities of observers? Do they have any restrictions?
To perform their job effectively, observers must follow the HNEC Code of Conduct (based on internationally recognized standards and best practices) and behave in a neutral, non-political manner. They must not participate, in any way, in the election campaigns of any candidate or political entity.
Observers are responsible for their own transportation, accommodation and security. They must display their HNEC accreditation cards at all stages when observing the electoral process.
The HNEC reserves the right to revoke the accreditation of an observer who violates the code of conduct for election observers, Libyan electoral laws or HNEC regulations.
What are the responsibilities of political entity and candidate agents?
Political entity and candidate agents have two functions. They observe the electoral process and report on whether or not it was conducted in accordance with the laws. Agents also protect the interests of their nominated candidate or political entity in the electoral process. They can:
? Observe all stages of the electoral process
? Object to individuals trying to vote without a valid voter card, with a voter card that is not theirs or with the card of someone who has already voted
? Raise questions about the violation of a law or regulation with HNEC officials; if the agent is dissatisfied with the response by HNEC officials, he/she may file a written complaint
Who are media representatives and why are they important to the elections?
Media representatives are journalists, reporters, bloggers and editors of printed and electronic media outlets. Accredited media representatives ensure the public is informed about the different stages of the electoral process, including voter registration, candidate nomination, election campaign, polling, counting and tabulation of results.
In order to report on each aspect of the electoral process, both national and international media representatives are encouraged to become accredited by the HNEC. Only accredited media representatives will be allowed access to registration centers, polling centers, the tally center and the HNEC media center.
How are media representatives accredited?
In order to be accredited, representatives of media organizations must also complete the HNEC application form.
National media representatives must provide identification. International representatives must also provide a copy of their passport and entry visa. All representatives must sign the HNEC code of conduct for media. National media organizations must submit all documents to an HNEC Accreditation Officer at any of the 13 HNEC sub-offices in Libya, where accreditation cards will be issued. The HNEC’s Tripoli Accreditation Unit is responsible for accreditation of international media organizations.
Media representatives may not belong to a political party or entity. They must not participate, in any way, in election campaigns for the benefit of any individual or political entity.
What is the HNEC Media Center?
The HNEC Media Center will be the focal point of communication between itself, journalists and the public regarding the election. As the HNEC prepares for the election, the center will allow the HNEC to provide timely information and explain the electoral process. The media center is a way for the HNEC to increase transparency, trust and credibility of the electoral process and the results.
When will the media center operate?
The HNEC Media Center is located at the National Conference Center, just north of the Rixos Hotel, at Ghabat Al Nasr, Hospital Street, Al Nasr, Tripoli. The center will begin operating on 3 July 2012, and will remain open until 15 July, or until final results are announced. Hours of operation will be built around media events, press conferences and daily statements.
Who can visit the HNEC Media Center?
Accredited media, observers, agents, HNEC staff and guests of the HNEC may visit the HNEC Media Center. Visitors must show accreditation cards to gain access. Accreditation desks will also be established at the media center to accredit journalists on site.
What facilities will be available in the media center?
The center will include simultaneous and consecutive translation from Arabic to English; high-speed WiFi; Internet access for all accredited visitors; print media room with printers, scanners, fax services and computers with Internet access; physical and electronic information desks disseminating all available HNEC press releases, publications and official schedules related to the election in Arabic and English; an interview and VIP room; a non-HNEC room for press conferences of observer groups; and accreditation desks where journalists can apply for and obtain accreditation cards.
What are the next steps in Libya’s transition following the GNC election?
The NTC will be legally dissolved at the first session of the newly-elected National Conference. All NTC competencies will devolve to the National Conference. The president of the National Conference and two deputies will be elected by secret ballot during the first session.
In a period not exceeding 30 days from their first meeting, the National Conference will appoint a prime minister who will propose names for members of the Cabinet. Proposed names will need two-thirds approval of the National Conference. The National Conference will also select a statutory body of 60 non-members to draft a constitution. The constitution will be drafted and adopted by the congress within a period not to exceed 120 days from the first meeting of the 60-member constitutional drafting committee.
The draft constitution will be submitted to a referendum within 30 days from the date of adoption. If the Libyan people agree to the draft by a two-thirds majority, the National Conference will endorse it as the constitution of the country. If rejected, the constitutional drafting committee must re-draft and re-submit it for referendum within a period not exceeding 30 days from the date that the results of the first referendum were announced.
International Foundation for Electoral Systems
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28 June 2012 [/restrict]