Libyan Electoral Discussions in Italy to Conclude on Thursday

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The latest round of negotiations on Libya’s Presidential and Parliamentary electoral law which began in Rome on Monday, is scheduled to conclude after four days of deliberations.

A committee made up of the Libyan Parliament, in addition to the Chairman of the High National Elections Commission (HNEC) Emad Al-Din Al-Sayeh, and the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) met in the Italian capital for the talks.

The negotiations aim to break the stalemate on voting for the legislation that awaits the development of a constitutional foundation for the general elections, scheduled for 24 December. The bill was drafted by HNEC, with the participation of UNSMIL, and divides Libya into three electoral districts the east, west, and south, and uses a hybrid of the individual- and party-based electoral systems.

The draft on the new Parliamentary elections prompted negative reactions, primarily due to it being prepared by HNEC, the division of electoral districts, and the demographic representation in the new Parliament, according to the Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram.

MP’s said the bill does not “achieve equality or justice, and does not serve the principles of the rule of law and citizenship countrywide.”

In western Libya, MP Abu Bakr Said criticised the draft because it “doesn’t state the conditions on which it based the distribution of seats in the upcoming Parliament for a total of 234 members.”

In the east, MP Abdel-Motaleb Thabet objected to a distribution of seats that doesn’t take into account the population density in the Jabal Al-Akhdar district. He said if it turns into law, the bill will stand in the way of holding the general elections as scheduled.

In the south, many observers stressed that national reconciliation should be achieved before delving into the details of the electoral law, and identifying the electoral districts.

In response to such criticisms, Al-Sayeh said that the proposal for the distribution of seats and districts was based on the request of the Speaker of the Parliament, Ageela Saleh. He explained that the distribution was determined on the basis of population density, and geographical distribution.