Libyan parliamentary election, 2014
All 200 seats up for election
101 seats needed for a majority
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Parliamentary elections were held in Libya on 25 June 2014 for the House of Representatives. 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. Election turnout was very low at 18%.
After the election was complete, two constitutional claims were brought before the Libyan Supreme Court (LSC). On November 7, 2014 the LSC ruled the amendment to Article 11 of paragraph 30 of the Constitutional Declaration invalid, which set out the road map for Libya's transition and the House elections. This in extension invalidated the entire legislative and elective process leading to the establishment of the House including the election. Therefore, this meant the House was effectively dissolved.
Due to controversy about constitutional amendments the House refused to take office from General National Congress (GNC) in Tripoli, which was controlled by powerful militias from the western coastal city of Misrata. Instead, they established their parliament in Tobruk.
The international community through the United Nations Special Mission to Libya (UNSMIL) announced recognition of the House and thus ignored the Supreme Court ruling. It was seen as unrealistic as the time to dissolve the House.
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 25 May 2014, the General National Congress set 25 June 2014 as the date for elections to the House of Representatives. 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.
Turnout was a mere 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 3.4 million eligible voters had registered for the country's Constitutional Assembly election in February. "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 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 House of Representatives. Of the Representatives present 141 voted in favour, with 2 opposing and 1 abstaining.
In November, the Supreme Court annulled the election after an appeal by a group of unnamed MPs on unclear grounds. However, the appealing MPs asserted unconstitutionality as the parliament does not sit in Tripoli or Benghazi and that it had overstepped its authority by calling for foreign military assistance against the national infighting with the militias. Though it cannot be appealed, the Tobruk-based parliament rejected the ruling on the claim that it was delivered "under the threat of arms." MP Abu Bakr Baira added that the ruling was "baseless" and "a step towards dividing the country," he further said that the Tobruk-based parliament would not comply with it. It was met with celebratory gunfire in Tripoli, the seat of the rival and competing Islamist-dominated government.
In further developments, former leader Gaddafi's cousin, Ahmed Gaddaf al-Dam, said that once the "government's" forces regain control of major cities many of the exiled supporters of Gaddafi, who were in talks with parliament, would return to get "Libya back from this mess" and support a national reconciliation programme.
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