By Sami Zaptia.
Tripoli, 24 October 2021:
The second round of Libya’s planned presidential elections will coincide with the country’s parliamentary elections. The revelation was made by the head of the High National Elections Commission (HNEC), Emad Al-Sayeh, at a press conference in Tripoli today.
The press conference was held to give some more details about HNEC’s thinking and plans for the controversial 24 December 2021 elections. There had been speculation that Al-Sayeh might use the press conference to announce a delay of the elections based on technical reasons.
Al-Sayeh said that the presidential and parliamentary elections will be synchronization in terms of procedures, and that the polling day for the first round of electing the head of state will be determined based on a proposal submitted by HNEC to the House of Representatives for approval.
The second round of the presidential elections will coincide with the parliamentary elections also on a polling day proposed by HNEC and approved by the House of Representatives.
Moreover, he results of each of the two processes will be announced simultaneously when each of them is completed.
Al-Sayeh described that day as: ‘‘The day when we go to the polls, away from ammunition boxes and bullets, the day when no voice rises above the voice and will of the Libyans.
He also announced the process of publishing the lists of registered voters tomorrow (Monday, 25 October) at the polling stations, in order to allow stakeholders to appeal within 48 hours from the date of publication.
He called on voters to make sure that their names are in the polling centres where they had registered, in preparation for receiving their electoral card at a later time.
Al-Sayeh also announced that the endorsement lists forms that the electoral laws required of the candidates will be published today on HNEC’s official media pages, but only as a proactive step to give enough time for the candidates to prepare and submit them as soon as the official door for nomination opens.
Regarding opening the door for candidacy registration, Al-Sayeh said that it will be available once the necessary technical and logistical preparations for this stage are completed, indicating that it will be launched in the first half of November in conjunction with the process of distributing voter cards.
This statement led to increased speculation by some observers that it makes the postponement of elections even more likely as it gives very little time (one and a half months) for the electorate to get to know their candidates – which would undermine the integrity of the electoral process.
Al-Sayeh also referred to legal and judicial guarantees and said in this regard: “We have a well-established judicial apparatus, whose expertise we are proud of, and whose stature we revere, and let us all refer to it in pursuit of building a state of law and institutions.’’
At the conclusion of his speech, the HNEC head sent a message of reassurance to the Libyan people and all political parties that HNEC will not deviate from its pledges and commitments towards implementing free and fair elections that guarantee the rights and consensus of all, without leniency with any attempt to undermine its reputation or infringe on its procedures.