By Umar Khan
Tripoli, 9 November:
The first elections to Tripoli Local Council (TLC) since . . .[restrict]the city’s liberation last year are to be held on 18 November. Three hundred candidates have submitted nomination papers and the day will be declared an official holiday in Tripoli, according to the Independent Eletoral Committee’ spokeswoman, Fawzia Masri.
The committee has registered 200,000 voters for the local elections, compared to the 699,355 registered by the Higher National Election Commission for the General National Congress (GNC) elections in July.
Masri told the Libya Herald that a survey was carried out in 3 districts of Tripoli to ascertain the reaction and expectations of the people. “Our workers interviewed 100 people in Souk Jumma, City Centre & Tajoura to see their expectations about the local elections. Around 80 percent said they want an elected council and the remaining 20 percent said they would not vote as they have voted GNC members into power and now they are only thinking about themselves and not the country.”
Greater Tripoli is to be divided into 13 electoral districts: Garabulli, Tajoura, Central Tripoli, Hay Al-Andalus, Souk Al-Juma, Abu Saleem, Ain Zara, Janzour, Swani, Qasr Ben Gashir, Al-Sbeya, Sidi Al-Siyah and Souk Al-Khamees.
Each voter will vote twice, according to Masri. “They will vote once for a member of the greater Tripoli council and once for their local area council. The council for Greater Tripoli will consist of 79 members from 13 districts, with the number of members from each area depending on the population size. There will also be representative for each area within the district, according to the electoral law, so altogether there will be 127 local area representatives.”
According to local electoral law, the elected members of the TLC will elect the Head of the council by secret ballot at their first meeting. The population of the district of Al-Siyah (21,311) has been decided on as the figure per representative in the council, meaning that there will be one councillor for every 21,311 residents of Tripoli.
The minimum voting age is set at 18, while candidates must be at least 25 years of age. Anybody with connections to the former regime has been barred from running as a candidate.
Voters and candidates will have three days to appeal for any corrections after the lists with names have been released by the electoral committee, the corrections will then be made in the next two days. Candidates will be allowed to start their campaigns the day after the lists are released by the electoral committee, they will not be allowed to campaign in the mosques, government institutions and public schools. Any candidate found to be violating the rules set by the committee will be disqualified.
Voting will take place on 18 November and the electoral committee has asked the Ministry of the Interior and the army to provide security at polling stations.
According to Masri, the elections will be monitored by more than 300 observers from 49 different NGOs. “The monitors were trained by the European Union and these 300 monitors will ensure that the whole process is carried out transparently.”