Tripoli, 9 June:
The first members of a 21-member team from the European Union to monitor the elections for the National Congress . . .[restrict]arrived yesterday, Friday. Others arrive today and on Monday.
The team, headed by Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, a member of the European parliament, is to “undertake a comprehensive assessment of the upcoming electoral process, a process full of challenges after so many decades of authoritarian regime,” a statement by EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton read.
The EU was invited to send monitors by the High National Election Commission (HNEC). The team’s arrival had been expected earlier following an HNEC-EU agreement last week but there had been delays over security issues.
The team will be deployed throughout Libya and is to remain until the whole electoral process is finished.
The forthcoming elections represent a crucial step in the ongoing transition. The EU will continue to support the Libyan people in this process and in realising the objective to establish a new Libya based on respect for democratic values, on stability and prosperity for all.”
Officially, the HNEC along with the NTC and the government are still sticking to the line that the elections will take place on 19 June. But it is widely known that they are going to delayed, possibly by up to three weeks. The list of approved candidates which originally was to have been announced well over a week ago and then rescheduled for last Tuesday still has not been made public. Once it is announced, there is supposed to be a five-day period during which those who have been disqualified from standing can appeal.
That means, if the list were announced today, that it would not be officially finalized until next Thursday, 14 June — just five days before the election.
That is not enough time to print the ballot papers and distribute them, let alone give time to candidates to campaign and voters to know who those candidates and the parties on offer are and make an informed choice.