By Ashraf Abdul Wahab.
Tripoli, 16 February 2014:
Prime Minister Ali Zeidan has urged Libyans to participate in elections for the constitutional drafting . . .[restrict]committee saying that the vote on 20 February would deliver one of the goals of the revolution.
Speaking at a press conference at the High National Elections Commission (HNEC) Headquarters yesterday, Zeidan said that the government had begun securing polling stations and was taking all possible steps to ensure successful elections, offering its full support to HNEC. He added that the Ministry of Interior had been tasked with maintaining voters’ safety on polling day.
HNEC Chairman Nuri Elabbar said the prospect of the elections represented a historical shift in Libya, adding that voting for Libyans registered abroad had already begun. Those living abroad are able to cast votes at 19 electoral centres in 13 countries.
Deputy Chairman of the General National Congress (GNC), Saleh Al-Makhzoum, congratulated the Libyan people on the start of elections. He said the work of the GNC in drafting election laws had been pivotal in reaching this stage. Congress, Makhzoum said, was ready to transfer power to a new elected body as soon as this became an option.
Referring to the coup-that-never-was on Saturday, he said those who had pinned their hopes on military rule were deluding themselves. Patience was needed for the aims of the revolution to be brought to fruition, Makhzoum said.
HNEC head for voting abroad, Khaled Asahli, explained that voting centres had been set up in Libyan embassies and consulates, with an additional seven polling stations in locations other than diplomatic buildings. He said that each voting centre contained two international observers and nine local observers, adding that the polling stations were also open to guests and the media.
At the last count, he said, 6,997 voters had been registered in foreign countries – 4,820 men and 2,177 women. Sahley said that 575 people voted yesterday and the remainder had two more days in which to cast their votes. [/restrict]