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Elections in Obari halted after polling stations attacked; 71 stations across Libya closed, 95% open

The elections  in the southern town of Obari for the Constitutional Committee were suspended today when at least two of the polling centres was stormed and set on fire. There are reports that two or three more stations were attacked as well. Other polling centres in the area then closed as a result.

“A group of unknown men stormed into the polling stations and set ballot papers on fire and caused damage to property,” the head of the local HNEC team in Obari, Ali Abu-Salah Ali, told the Libya Herald. “They threatened HNEC workers”, he added.

As a result “we officially stopped the elections in the town because of fears for the HNEC workers’ safety,” he said. “We spoke to head of central administration the HNEC and reported our inability to continue further.”

It is thought that Tebu protestors are behind the attacks. The National Tebu Assemby announced a boycott at the beginning of the week. However, the precise number of polling centres closed as a result the Obari incidents is unknown. There have been reports that some stations in the surrounding area may be operating but this is unconfirmed.

It is reported that all 31 polling centres in the neighbouring Murzuk sub-constituency never opened in the first place after Tebu protestors blocked roads and prevented election material getting through to them. The Tebus apparently objected to the fact that despite the boycott, Tebu candidates could be elected by non-Tebu voters because the voting system allowed them to do so.

In Kufra, where Tebus have also been boycotting the vote, there was no similar attempt to prevent the 15  polling centres from operating.  Three were closed by the other 12 were operating.

In Derna district, 11 stations were reported to have been closed because of attacks, thought to be by militant Islamists opposed to any democratic proceedings, and 41 open.

An official with HNEC, told the this newspaper that altogether, some 71 polling stations across the country were not operating today for various reasons,

Despite earlier HNEC concerns about security in Sebha, all polling centres there were open.

According to statement late this afternoon from HNEC, 95 percent of polling centres were functioning normally throughout the day.

Article by Jamal Adel, Libya Herald.

This article was originally published here.

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