Shahrazad Kablan from Think Tank for Arab Women. Photo: Johan Sävström

Elections in Libya

After more than 40 years of authoritarian repression, Libyans will have the opportunity to cast their ballots on 7 July to elect the 200-member GNC. Of an estimated 3.3 million eligible voters, approximately 2.8 million registered to vote (of whom 45 percent are women).
The GNC is expected to appoint a new prime minister who then will appoint a new government, which will require confirmation by two thirds of GNC members.
The council will have legislative power and the responsibility for drafting the legal framework for general elections after the new constitution is ratified by Libyan citizens in a general referendum. Drafting the new constitution will be assigned to a 60-member constituent committee to be selected by the GNC.

− It can appear to be a slow and complicated process, but it is better to do this thoroughly than in haste. Moreover, the election system is structured to prevent complete power going to one person, says Shahrazad Kablan, national adviser at the International Organisation for Migration on voting by expatriate Libyans.

More than 300 political parties are running candidates for the 80 positions to be elected in a proportional ballot. Every second candidate on each party list must be a woman. Most of the parties are totally new and no-one really knows what they stand for. However, there are also a few larger parties that were already movements during the Gadhafi years. These are expected to win the most votes.
The remaining 120 GNC positions are elected by majoritarian ballot and several thousand people are running as candidates.

− I am very optimistic. Of course there are problems and obstacles but we must remember what Libya has achieved in only one year. From the total chaos during and after the overthrow Gadhafi, now we already have a system and a plan to get to a democratic government in Libya within 18 months, says Shahrazad Kablan. 

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