Econostrum | Economic News in the Mediterranean

Libyan presidential election postponed to end of January 2022

Written by Marie-Cécile Audibert on Thursday, December 23rd 2021 à 15:50 | Read 204 times

Libya's presidential election will be postponed by one month (photo: HNEC)
Libya's presidential election will be postponed by one month (photo: HNEC)
LIBYA. In a statement issued on Wednesday 22 December 2021 (see below), the Libyan High National Electoral Commission (HNEC) proposes to postpone the presidential election scheduled for 24 December 2021. A few days before the election, the announcement was highly predictable as we persisted in announcing it again in our columns on Monday 20 December 2021. This time it becomes quasi-official for at least three reasons confirming that this advice will be followed.

First, Abdel Hamid Dbeibah, interim Prime Minister since March 2021, resumed his duties on Tuesday 21 December 2021. As a candidate in this election, he had entrusted the leadership of the country to his deputy prime minister in November 2021 during the campaign. His return means that the situation has changed.

Secondly, in its statement, HNEC said that the advice to postpone the call to the polls was taken in coordination with the House of Representatives. The right to approve a new timetable rests with the members of the House of Representatives. They have thirty days to do so.

Finally, the text already suggests a new date for the holding of the first round of this first historic election of a President of the Republic in Libya: Monday 24 January 2022. The consensus seems to be gathered to be so precise today.

The HNEC clears its name on the causes of the postponement

"We have not abandoned our responsibilities and we have done everything we were supposed to do in a way that leaves no doubt about our impartiality and independence. The accusations against us of negligence and politicisation are nothing more than campaigns of confusion and misrepresentation aimed at undermining the reputation of the Commission," HNEC firmly emphasised in order to clear itself of the causes of the postponement.

In its text, it goes on to say that it "places the legislative and judicial authorities before their responsibilities and obligations to take measures conducive to the success of this right (to vote) to enable the people to realise their hopes and aspirations for a future filled with peace, development and prosperity". Clearly, MPs and the courts will also have to create the conditions for the ballot to take place as smoothly as possible.

The HNEC denounces "the inadequacy of the electoral legislation regarding the role of the judiciary in electoral appeals and disputes, which has negatively affected the Commission's law and created a state of uncertainty as to the correctness of the Commission's decisions on the exclusion of a number of candidates who do not meet the requirements". Underlying these accusations is the case of Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, son of the former Revolutionary Leader. His file was rejected by the HNEC and finally validated by a court in Sebha (south of the country).
Faced with these contradictions, the full list of candidates has not been published. The analysis of the appeals brought before the courts is not yet complete, which prevents any validation.

What about the date of the legislative elections?
"An overlap between the political data and the judicial decisions rendered (...) led the Commission to the inability to announce the final list of candidates and to the inability to set 24 December as the voting day despite its full technical preparation", confirms the HNEC. It cites "force majeure" to explain its failure to call for the polls in 48 hours. According to the HNEC, the process of auditing the submitted candidacy files is however in the process of final examination.

This postponement poses another question that is all the more crucial as opinions are divided among the various parties: the date of the legislative elections. Initially, the interim government had decided that they should take place on 24 December 2021 (the anniversary of the country's independence in 1951) at the same time as the presidential elections. By early October 2021, however, the legislative elections had been postponed to the end of January 2022, without specifying the day. It remains to be seen whether the two elections will be held simultaneously or not.

Read also: The presidential election of December 24 in Libya is in trouble  
And our six-part investigation into Libya's political and economic prospects 
Libyan presidential election postponed to end of January 2022

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