By Hadi Fornaji.
Benghazi, 2 April 2014:
Just 16 percent of Benghazi’s potential electors have registered to vote in the city’s . . .[restrict]municipal elections.
Out of some 434,000 people eligible to vote in the city, 70,000 registered to participate in the polls according to the head of the Benghazi sub-committee of the Central Committee for Municipal Council Elections (CCMCE), Idris Al-Gadhi.
Of these, 60 percent (42,312) were men and 40 percent (27,463) women, Gadhi told the Libya Herald.
Voter registration for the elections started on 16 January and was supposed to last until the end of January. In the event, because of low take-up, the deadline was extended twice to try and encourage more residents to participate. The local Benghazi subcommittee of the CCMCE had been hoping to register 130,000 people. Although the final figure is almost 20,000 more than the 50,000 who had registered a month ago, it is still seen as lamentably low.
It is way down on the 216,146 people who registered to vote in the May 2012 Benghazi local elections – and that figure was seen as disappointing at the time. It too was achieved by extending the registration period twice and a vigorous campaign to encourage people to register.
According to Gadhi, 77 candidates have registered – 64 for the seven general seats,10 for the single seat reserved for a women, and three for the seat reserved for a wounded revolutionary.
“We’ve submitted the 77 files to the Public Officials Standards Commission to investigate them”, Gadhi said.
The election date has yet to be decided. “We will announce the date of the electoral campaign period and the date of the elections once the subcommittee receives statements on the 77 candidates from the Political Isolation Law committee” he explained.
All logistical support would be available for the planned 287 polling stations, he said but noted that the subcommittee’s biggest concern was the security. The fear is that a vacuum could prevent voting taking place.