Libya’s municipal elections continue despite COVID-19, security threats

Map of Libya

Libyan municipal elections continue to take place in several cities despite the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic and security threats, which previously forced the elections to be stopped in several cities in southern Libya.

The municipal council’s elections have recently started in Libya and the first phase is scheduled to continue until the end of September.

More than 100 Libyan municipalities are preparing to organize elections for their councils in the second session this year, as most of the councils have ended their 4-year mandate.

Salem bin-Tahia, head of Libya’s Central Committee for Municipal Council Elections (CCMCE), confirmed that the elections in a number of cities are proceeding according to the plan, despite threats related to the COVID-19 epidemic and some security threats that stopped elections in some towns.

The Libyan official expressed satisfaction with the electoral process, considering that the elections were held in smooth conditions and without problems, except some security issues.

“For security reasons, the electoral process stopped in the towns of Traghen and Qatrun in southern Libya recently,” bin-Tahia said.

The United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) said it was dismayed by an armed group affiliated to the eastern-based army halting elections scheduled to take place in Traghen.

The mission reminded all parties in Libya of their obligations to act in accordance with international law and called on them to protect democratic processes across the country.

“The municipal council’s elections represent the vitality of the democratic process at the local level and UNSMIL warmly welcomed the elections that took place in Ghat last week,” UNSMIL said.

UNSMIL on Friday praised the successful municipal elections in the city of Misurata, some 200 km east of the capital Tripoli, and reiterated its strong support for the Libyan people in conducting municipal elections and strengthening local governance and to the CCMCE.

Al-Tayeb Omaima, head of the Misurata Municipal Council Elections Sub-Committee, also commended the elections in the city and the security preparations for the voting process.

“The electoral program in Misurata ran on time smoothly and without security problems. As for the low number of participants, I think it is because of the current circumstances due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and the long hours of electricity cuts,” Omaima told Xinhua.

According to the National Center for Disease Control, the total number of COVID-19 cases in Libya so far is 17,094, including 2,025 recoveries and 272 deaths.

Misurata is the fourth largest city in Libya with a population of more than half a million out of total population of less than 8 million people