By George Grant.
Benghazi, 21 May:
The results from the first democratic elections to take place in Benghazi for more than four decades . . .[restrict]were announced this evening by the head of Benghazi’s electoral commission, Suleiman Zubi. He said that 138,312 people had voted .
Forty-one candidates, from the more than 400 who stood, were elected from 11 electoral districts to serve on Benghazi Local Council.The candidate who received the most votes in each of the districts is due to go on to represent the city at the National Transitional Council (NTC) in Tripoli.
Commenting on his election as one of the 11 council members to go to Tripoli, Khaled Al-Jazwee told the Libya Herald that he felt a “huge responsibility” to live up to the trust bestowed upon him by the people of Benghazi. “Obviously I am very happy to have been elected”, he said, “but this is a huge responsibility, and now I must show the people that I am up to the task”.
Another new member of the local council, Abdullah Buaod, echoed this sentiment, adding, “I am very pleased with how these elections have gone, because they have shown to the world that Benghazi is a civilised city, capable of holding free and fair elections”.
Only one woman out of the 22 female candidates was elected, but she was resoundingly backed. Not only did Najat Rashid Mansur Al-Kikhia top the ballot in District 4, Al-Birka, with more than twice the number of votes of her nearest rival — 7,784 in all — she gained more votes than any other candidate in the entire election. She thus also becomes a Benghazi representative on the NTC.
Speaking to the Libya Herald, Suleiman Zubi, the head of the Benghazi Electoral Commission, said that voter turnout had been between 64-69 per cent. “The turnout for these elections was excellent”, he said, “not only that, but voting passed off peacefully and without a single reported incident”.
Asked about the possibility of voter fraud, Zubi insisted that there was none. “The way we organised these elections meant there was no opportunity for fraud. For one thing, we had around 1,000 election observers from both Libya and international organisations such as the United Nations, the European Union and the National Democratic Institute”.
In the absence of a permanent Libyan constitution, however, it is still not fully clear what, or how extensive, its powers will be. In particular, questions still need to be answered as to which areas will fall under the local council’s direct control, which will be reserved for the national government in Tripoli, and which a mixture of the two.
When asked what his main priority as a local council member elected to represent Benghazi at the NTC would be, Al-Jazwee highlighted this issue by saying that the foremost priority must be “to construct the local council in a proper way”. Bouaod, likewise, said that his priority would be to “create a very strong local council, that can wield real influence both in Benghazi, but also in the country as a whole”.
As the only authority in Benghazi with a democratic mandate, the local council will be in a strong position when it comes to finalising these issues, and the precedent that is set now may go on to influence what is eventually decided in the permanent constitution.
Benghazi’s electoral commission supervising the elections announced that appeals can be lodged, starting Tuesday, 22 May, and will last for three days.
Candidates Elected (the first named in each district is to serve on the NTC):
District 1: Central Benghazi and Sidi Hussein
* Khalid Abdul Hafeez Alqadi (5340 Votes)
Abdullah Awad Mohammed Deguem
Mohamed Abdel-Aziz Ahmed Zwarah
District 2: Central Benghazi and Sidi Hussein
* Issam Fathallah Ben Ghashir (4679 Votes)
Nabil Zarouk Abdualla Abousekaya
Mostafa Omar Salem Omar Sheikhy
Ahmed Jibril Mohammed Baba
District 3: Al-Sabri and Sidi Abaid
* Mohammed Ibrahim Mohammed Al-Taeib (4657 Votes)
Abdel-Hafiz Hamad Almqsba
Shahat Ibrahim Hassan Awami
District 4: Al-Birka
* Najat Rashid Mansur Al-Kikhia (7784 Votes)
Mohammed Moustafa Mohammed Al-Mqsbai
Mohammed Abdel-Wahab Mohammed Al’Issawi
Osama Mohammed Ahmed Sharif
Osman Dakhil Magrebi
District 5: New Benghazi and Al-Hadaiq
* Abdel-Moneim Saleh Mohammed Al-Tajouri (6785 Votes)
Mahmoud Faraj Abu Raziza
Ahmed Abdussalam Ben Nassir
Siddiq Salama Abderrahim Al-Zlitni
District 6: Al-Selmani Al-Sharqi and Al-Salawi
* Al-Garah Saad Khafifi (4085 Votes)
Faraj Abdullah Daabas
Hassan Ibrahim Algali
Mahmoud Farag Ibrahim Al-Fitouri
District 7: Al-Uruba and Al-Mukhtar
* Khalid Ali Saleh Ajeli (4158 Votes)
Juma Abdul Salam Ghidan Sahli
Saad Omar Al-Saaiti
Abdul-Hamid Mohammed Al-Haddad
District 8: Al-Qish and Al-Fuwaihat
* Khalid Ibrahim Ali Al-Jazwee (4317 Votes)
Tariq Ahmed Mohammed Buzribe
Abdullah Salem Abdullah Buaod
Abdullah Mohammed Mohammed Al-Maghrebi
District 9: Buatni, Al-Huwari and Gwarsha
* Awad Saleh Awad Al-Sobeihi (1753 Votes)
Ahmed Abdullah Rizkallah Bin Moussa
Faraj Mohammed Massoud Alabbar
Abdul Kader Yousef Al-Amrouni
Abdul Salam Mohammed Mamash
District 10: Gar Younis and Al-Magrun
*Omar Mouftah Rajab Al-Silak (2034 Votes)
Mohammed Mohammed Hussein Al-Soualem
District 11: Benina, Kuwafiyah and Sidi Khalifa
* Abdussalam Mouftah Busbaa (1969 Votes)
Khalil Suleiman Khalil Al-Barghathi
Ashraf Abdullah Madhi