Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Libya: Preliminary results of Constitution Committee elections

The preliminary results of the elections for the constitution committee, or Sixty Committee, which was established to draw up the country’s new constitution, were released this week. Although most of those elected are not well known, the initial results indicated that the liberal trend did well.

So far, only 47 out of the committee’s members have been declared because voting has yet to take place for the remaining 13 seats. Two of these seats remain empty because they were set aside for the country’s Amazigh (Berber) minority which boycotted the elections on the grounds that the Amazigh were under-represented in the committee and because they were given no guarantee that their rights would be protected in the new constitution. 

The other 11 seats remain unfilled because the elections to these posts could not go ahead on 20 February as a result of various security issues. Despite the fact that the Higher Election Commission announced that voting would take place for these seats six days later, similar disruptions and security violations occurred, meaning the re-runs did not go ahead.

In such circumstances it is difficult to see how this committee can start work. This means that the constitution writing process is likely to be delayed even further, suggesting that Congress’ Plan B for early elections will almost certainly have to be implemented, providing that the Congress itself lasts that long. 

Indeed, the head of the Higher Election Commission, Nouri Al-Abbar, who resigned this week (see below), informed the GNC that “in the best circumstances and even with the availability of logistical support, the earliest time that elections can be held is between 5 to 10 months”. Whether Libyans will agree to wait that long has yet to be seen.

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

© 2014 Menas Associates

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