By Moutaz Ali and Michel Cousins.
Tripoli, 25 June 2014:
Elections got off to a slow start today across Libya with just 13 . . .[restrict]percent of the registered 1.5 million voters casting their ballots by midday, according to the High National Elections Commission (HNEC).
Almost all the 1,626 election centres were open, HNEC said. Just two in Sebha were not operating,as well as ten in Kufra and seven in Derna, it stated. All polling stations in Benghazi were open, although there are reports of fighting at one of them.
The situation in troubled Derna was no surprise. In the Constitutional Assembly elections in February, militants had attacked polling stations forcing them to close. This time, schools in the town refused to allow their premises to be used as voting centres.
In Kufra, however, where Tebus had boycotted the February vote, this time it was the town’s majority Zwai community who were doing the boycotting.
The reason, according to a local HNEC official, is that members of the majority Zwai community had prevented election materials reaching the stations. He did not say why, other than that they wanted the ballot postponed.
There are also reports of Tuaregs organising sit-ins outside polling stations in Obari district. They are protesting the fact that although they were able to vote on 2012, they are not allowed to do so this time because of they have not been issued with national ID cards.
It is not clear, however, if they are preventing others from voting. In the February Constitutional Assembly elections, attacks on two voting centres in Obari resulted in them and a number of other being closed. Polls there were re-run only a month and a half ago. [/restrict]