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Elections to go ahead in Kufra and Derna despite ongoing violence

Despite security challenges, elections are to go ahead in the Cyrenaica towns of Kufra and Derna where inhabitants have been plagued by some of the worst violence in the country since the revolution.

Adam Taleb Zeidan, a member of Kufra Local Council, told the Libya Herald elections would be held despite mortar attacks that had killed two and injured four in the town today. He said regardless of security problems the people of Kufra would vote tomorrow to “show their support of the legitimate state”.

Kufra has been subject to ongoing clashes between Arab Zwai tribesmen and the town’s Tebu ethnic minority for months. The National Tebu Assembly has boycotted the elections saying they will not been involved in the drafting of a constitution that does not represent them. However the town’s Arab majority are expected to take part.

Zeidan said that Kufra Local Council had met with elders from the area’s Tebu community two days ago to discuss the elections and claimed the Tebus were split over whether or not they would participate.

Nevertheless, Zeidan said tomorrow’s elections were crucial to ensuring the continuation of democracy and that Libya did not fall prey to armed groups or a military coup.

Derna Local Council told this paper just over one week ago that elections to the 60-member Committee might not be possible in the town because of the security vacuum that had allowed armed groups to assassinate and intimidate officials with impunity.

Today, a source close to the council who did not wish to be identified said elections would now go ahead but only because of overwhelming popular demand. He said no army or police had been brought into Derna to secure the its 27 polling stations but locals had volunteered to protect voters.

The source said there was no way of knowing what would happen tomorrow but if a direct threat or attack was made against one polling station, the rest would remain open. He added there had been almost no publicity for the election in Derna and as such locals had little information about the twelve candidates standing for the Committee.

Article by Seraj Essul and Callum Paton, Libya Herald.

This article was originally published here.

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