Uncertainty Abounds Around Elections and Federalism
Libya: Uncertainty abounds around Elections and Federalism – By Jason Pack and Ronald Bruce St John
It is all but official that, Libya’s elections will be delayed. But by how long nobody knows. The Libyan Election Commission has repeatedly leaked news about a delay but made it clear that they are still not ready to announce it officially. Simultaneously, they have semi-officially promised the public that the delayed elections will take place before Ramadan begins on July 20th. This game of shadows and mirrors borders on the surreal, given that the elections’ scheduled date, June 19th, is less than two weeks away. Borrowing from Churchill ‘[We] cannot forecast to you the action of [Libya]. It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma; but perhaps there is a key’.
Yet in early June, Western Diplomats stationed in Tripoli were anonymously stating that the overarching reason for the imminent delay is that the ballot papers will not be ready on time. On the other hand, the Election Commission themselves have attempt to justify the ‘potential’ delay by pointing to the fact that the finalized list of candidates and parties was just released on Tuesday, June 5th, which would only allow for two weeks of campaigning — clearly not enough to allow voters to make informed decisions. Many speculate that the real rationale underlying this song and dance is that if a delay were announced presently, the Election Commission is not yet sure it would be able to hold the elections by the new date. While the Egyptians and Tunisians have both managed to hold their elections on time, the Libyans seem not even prepared enough to be able to delay their elections coherently. In short, true to form, uncertainty reigns in post-Qaddafi Libya.