Libyan Council of Deputies election, 2014
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Legislative elections were held in Libya on 25 June 2014 for the Majlis al-Nuwaab. Majlis al-Nuwaab translates into English as Council of Deputies, although it is frequently referred to as the "House of Representatives" in the English-language media.
Whilst all candidates ran as independents, the elections saw nationalist and liberal factions win the majority of seats, with Islamist groups being reduced to only around 30 seats.
A General National Congress was elected in July 2012, with the original responsibility of forming a constituent assembly to write the constitution; however, the National Transitional Council decided that Libyans will instead directly elect the constituent assembly. The General National Congress came to agreement on 10 April 2013 that constituent assembly members will be elected; the election for most of the constituent assembly took place on 20 February 2014.
On 30 May 2014, the General National Congress, which had already exceeded its mandated term of office and was refusing to step down, voted, under pressure from General Khalifa Haftar who had called for new elections, to replace itself with the new Council of Deputies. The GNC claimed Haftar was plotting a coup. The new legislature has allocated 30 seats for women, will have 200 seats overall (with individuals able to run as members of political parties) and allows Libyans of foreign nationalities to run for office.
The 200 seats were elected in by three different methods. Forty seats were elected by first-past-the-post in single-member constituencies, eighty were elected by single non-transferable vote in 29 multi-member constituencies, and the remaining eighty were elected by proportional representation. In an attempt to reduce tensions, all candidates contested the election as individuals, instead of running on party lists.
The turnout was 18%, down from 60% in the first post-Gaddafi election of July 2012, with only 630,000 people voting. Barely a third of Libya's 3.4m eligible voters had registered for the country's Constitutional Assembly election in February that year. "Declining enthusiasm reflects growing disgust with the authorities' failure to govern," said The Economist.
No voting took place in Derna, which had been the scene of a campaign of bombings and assassinations from radical Islamist groups based there. Some polling stations were also closed in Kufra and Sabha for security reasons.
There were several instances of violence on the day of the election, with at least five people dying in clashes between government forces and militants in Benghazi. According to security officials the deaths happened when Islamist insurgents opened fire on a local security headquarters, with the violence resulting in at least another 30 people being wounded.
In a separate incident Human Rights activist Salwa Bughaighis was shot dead at her Benghazi home after having returned home from voting. Her attackers were reportedly hooded and were wearing military uniforms. Bughaighis, a native of Benghazi, was a lawyer by profession and had three children. She had played an active role in the overthrow of Gaddafi and had served as a member of Libya's interim National Transitional Council.
The results were announced on 22 July 2014. All 1,714 candidates stood as independents as party lists were forbidden under the electoral system. Of the 200 seats up for election, 188 were announced on 22 July, with the announcement for the other 12 being delayed due to boycott or insecurity in some electoral districts. Most of the seats were taken by secular factions, with Islamists, who held a significant degree of sway in the previous parliament, only winning around 30 seats. Some analysts[who?] fear the results might reinvigorate fighting between secular and Islamist forces.
The new parliament has since based itself in the Operation Dignity stronghold of Tobruk. On 12 August 2014 the parliament voted in favor of the Libyan head of state being directly elected, as opposed to being appointed by the Council of Deputies. Of the Representatives present 141 voted in favour, with 2 opposing and 1 abstaining.
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