By Nigel Ash
Tripoli, 20 April 2013:
Given speculation that the first municipal elections could be held as early as this August, the . . .[restrict]role of the new Commission charged with running them is moving centre stage.
With a budget of LD106 million due to be handed over by the Ministry of Local Government any day, the six-member municipal election commission is working to complete its internal regulations, the body’s chairman Dr Otman Gajiji told the Libya Herald today.
Gajiji said that it was not possible to say when the first municipal elections might be held under the GNC’s Law 59. There were issues on voter registration and the use of national ID cards. However with the latter, he pointed out that the existing civil registry could be used to assemble voter lists based on place of residence.
“It is not yet clear how many municipalities will be created ”said Gajiji, “ but it will between 90 and 100. Towns with populations under 250,000 will choose five municipal councillors, whereas those with more citizens, will vote for seven”. Mayors he added would be selected by a secret ballot of the newly-elected municipal councillors.
There has been some confusion both about the difference between the existing local councils and the new municipalities. Gajiji explained that the former came into being under the NTC and, starting with Misrata, were organised locally, often under local rules. Law 59 stipulates that as soon as a new municipal council is elected, the local council, if there is one, (Tripoli for instance never staged its planned election), will cease to exist.
Gajiji said he is also puzzled by suggestions that once the new constitution comes into being, fresh municipal elections will be necessary. “ This is wrong. ” he said, “ The constitution will deal with municipalities, whose members will have been elected to serve four-year terms. These councils will simply continue in office until the next election”.
The official title of the commission is the Central Committee for the Preparation and Supervision of the Municipal Elections. It has five other members: Dr Masaud Saleh Waheida, Miloud Salem Daouki ; Mehdi Khalifa Emhemed Bahloul ; Mohamed Abdel-Qader Medhi Abu-Sabiha and Saeida Seddiq Berrwein .