The Libyan presidential elections, originally set for December 24 last year, were postponed due to “conflicting candidacies”, revealed Richard Norland, the U.S. Special Envoy and Ambassador to Libya.
In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, Norland was asked about the reasons behind delaying Libyan elections. He said that Libyan politics were complicated and that it is difficult for external observers to pinpoint exact explanations.
Nevertheless, the U.S. diplomat said that “conflicting candidacies” that appeared relatively late in the election process had spurred fears of violence erupting. This, according to Norland, could have been a motive for a temporary halt of elections.
“He relayed his belief in the High National Election Commission (HNEC) having been prepared to hold polls on time. But the organizing body had its work disrupted by controversial candidacies,” Asharq Al-Awsat stated.
“The US diplomat considered that Libyan politicians dodged the responsibility of announcing that elections were postponed mainly because they feared the people holding them accountable,” the London-based newspaper reported.
Norland pointed to the HNEC’s technical preparations having been “highly professional and efficient,” and most serious political actors in Libya, at least, had been in favor of holding elections.
On US threats to saboteurs, the ambassador said that sanctions mainly concern personalities rejecting the results of elections and those who practiced violence mongering to obstruct the electoral process.
According to Norland, the matter of sanctions has not been settled yet, and a decision may be taken in this regard later.