Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Situation in Benghazi has not yet stabilised

The post-election situation in Benghazi has not yet stabilised and minor demonstrations are still taking place. It looks, however, as if the Muslim Brotherhood did best and reportedly took about a third of the available seats. So far, the majority of the candidates have, however, shown no sign of amalgamating, and going forward it appears that individuals will act independently.

The head of Tripoli Military Council, Abdul Hakim Belhadj, recently declared that he would stand as a candidate in the National General Congress elections. He has therefore separated himself from his past connections with the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group and has been careful to take a very moderate line in the run-up to the elections. On the basis of the Benghazi local elections, it is forecast that the Islamists will fare only moderately well in the coming ballot.

There is on on-going debate on the likelihood that the elections, scheduled for 19 June, will be postponed. It was reported on 3 June that they would be delayed as a result of an National Transitional Council (NTC) decision to extend the time period during which candidates could register and conduct their public campaigns. The local press cited the resulting lack of time to produce accurate ballot papers.

In any event, it is common wisdom in Libya that even if it is delayed by a week or two, the poll will have to take place and most sources indicate that the election organisation is generally on time. The chairman of the Libyan Higher National Elections Commission, Ali Askar, has indicated that the elections would go ahead as planned. The overwhelming reason to avoid a delay is the escalating impatience of the young and the revolutionary groups to bring about a change in government.

For more news and expert analysis about Libya, please see Libya Focus and Libya Politics & Security.

© 2012 Menas Associates

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