By Janet Ekstract
ISTANBUL- Politicians, analysts and diplomats are increasingly skeptical about Libya’s upcoming presidential election slated to take place on December 24. The main reason for the skepticism lies in the fact that Libya’s election commission says it must settle some legal issues before it publishes a list of presidential candidates. In a statement on Saturday, the commission said: “Given the sensitivities of this stage and the political and security circumstances surrounding it, the commission is keen to exhaust all means of litigation to ensure its decisions comply with issued judgements.”
According to the director of Sadeq Institute, a Libya-based think-tank in Tripoli, the issues that could derail the election include judicial and political controversy. Ana’s Gomati, director of the institute said: “The judicial and political.controversy surrounding the eligibility of candidates is the underlying reason international bodies are no longer pushing for December 24.” Gomati, who spoke to Al-Jazeera, added: “Throughout the election process, there have been disputes about fundamental rules that govern the election that include the eligibility of major candidates,voting timetables and future powers of the next president and parliament”
The constant concern and danger recognized by the international community is that with militias controlling most regions throughout Libya, any election taking place without strong international monitoring would risk accusations of fraud. Adding to that worry, is also the fact that the approval of the Gaddafi son Saif al-Islam Gaddafi and eastern strongman, commander Khalifa Haftar for presidential candidates has rattled a number of groups in Libya as well as observers since both were accused of war crimes.Other concerns are that rival factions have consistently accused one another of intimidating or bribing judicial and administrative officials to influence the final candidate lost.
In light of all these considerations, what once seemed a hopeful ‘democratic’ process led by the United Nations to guide the Libyan people toward a fair a election process now seems more like a pipe dream. Some factions have signaled that a delay in the vote may serve as a catalyst for them to pull out of the political process. Currently, the election commission has stated that it’s in communication with the Supreme Judicial Council and with a parliamentary committee.The commission said it will adopt procedures based on conversations it has with the Council prior to moving ahead with the electoral process.