Postponed Libyan Elections
- Muammar Gaddafi served as Libya’s de-facto ruler from 1969-2011, when he was ousted from power as a result of the NATO-backed Arab Spring movement in Libya.
- In 2013, Libya’s General National Congress elected Nouri Abusahmain as president in a 96-80 vote. Despite holding this election, an improvement from Gaddafi’s dictatorial rule, Libya has not successfully installed an official direct election system since the Arab Spring.
Instating a Direct Election System:
- In September of 2021, Libya’s parliament issued a new Presidential Elections Law, categorizing the upcoming presidential elections as a direct election with a winner-take-all system and scheduling voting to take place on December 24.
- Libya’s parliamentary elections were scheduled to occur upon completion of the presidential elections.
- 98 individuals registered to run for the Libyan presidential elections, including several controversial figures.
- One registered participant is Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, son of Muammar Gaddafi. Libya’s election commission disqualified Saif from running due to his allegations of war crimes, yet Libyan courts reinstated him as a legitimate presidential candidate.
- Interim Prime Minister Abdulhamid al-Dbeibah is also running in the election; however, many are concerned that holding this position of power while participating in the presidential race presents a political advantage.
- Parliament speaker and presidential candidate Aguila Saleh similarly presents a potential conflict of interest as he was largely involved in passing legislation regarding the upcoming elections.
- On December 22, the Libyan parliamentary committee’s chairman alerted the head of parliament that “[a]fter consulting the technical, judicial, and security reports, we inform you of the impossibility of holding the elections on the date of 24 December 2021 provided for by the electoral law.”
- This decision came largely as a result of disagreements regarding who should be permitted to register as a presidential candidate and, upon election, what powers and responsibilities this individual will acquire.