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Voting Rights for Libyan Abroad

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From: Libyan Diaspora Absentee Ballot Task Force

To: The Supreme Electoral Committee - Tripoli, Libya

Date: 4/26/2012

Petition to Urge Continuation of Previous Commitments to Facilitate the Voting Rights of Libyans Outside of Libya, for the Upcoming National Congress Elections

In response to recent developments in the formation and construction of the election law for the 2012 elections of the Libyan National Congress, scheduled for June 19th 2012; We the undersigned members of the Libyan Diaspora, Libyans within Libya, Libyan and international civic and social organizations, urge the Supreme Electoral Committee to stand by its commitments as outlined in the Election Law, the Interim Constitution, and as consistent with the goals of the Libyan Revolution and the spirit of de-marginalization.

Delays in finalization of various pieces of electoral legislation, including the elections law, the law regulating political parties, electoral districting/jurisdictional boundaries, and the recent political departures relating to the prohibition against candidacy for current and former National Transitional Council (NTC) and Interim Government members, has resulted in uncertainty regarding the feasibility of administering a successful election, both inside and outside of the Libya. Further exasperating this ambiguity is the recent dismissal of several members of the Electoral Commission and statements by certain members of the Commission, and members of the NTC and Interim Government regarding the voting rights of Libyans outside of Libya. Accordingly, we urge the NTC, Interim Government, and the Electoral Commission to facilitate the smooth administration of elections both inside and outside Libya.


· Interim Constitutional Declaration, as issued by the National Transitional Council (with special focus on Articles 6 and 30)

· Law Number (4) for the year 2012, the Election Law (with special focus on Articles 8, 9, 29)

In accordance with the above mentioned laws, the commitments made to the Libyan people, and the spirit of the February 17th Revolution, we the undersigned reiterate our call to the NTC, the Interim Government, and the Electoral Commission to abide by its previously laid out commitments to provide all Libyans with the opportunity to vote.

The Libyan Diaspora is a multi-layered and multi-dimensional group that consists of Libyans from all parts Libya, who subsist around the world, for both short and long periods. This group cannot be lumped together and painted over with a broad brush. Each of us holds a different story and different connection to Libya. There are those of us, who left Libya in opposition to the previous regime, decades ago; only to find themselves isolated in foreign lands without the support and comfort of their families. There are those of us who left Libya in search of higher educational and economic opportunity. There are others still, who by coincidence of birth awoke in foreign lands, yet grew up, ever aware of their ancestral homelands. As of late, we are joined by several hundred others, who although they grew up in Libya, have been forced to take up temporary domicile in hospitals around the world, while they receive treatment for wounds they received during the revolution.

Though each of us has his/her own story, we do share one thing in common; due to our existence outside of Libya, we face a major threat to our civil and political rights. Rights that many of us fought for and thousands died to secure. 

Though some may believe us insignificant, surely we are not a discreet and insular minority group, to be brushed aside and ignored. As a collective unit, our numbers place us among the top 2-5 biggest cities in Libya (estimated numbers range from 250,000 to 600,000). The members of this group, actively worked, in aid of their brethren, to end the previous regime; some did so for decades. Like our brothers and sisters in Libya, we say No more!  No more marginalization! No more neglect! We are all children of Libya and have equal duties and responsibilities.

Like all Libyans, we each bear the scars of 42 years of suffering. And like many did, when Libya called, we in the Diaspora answered. This revolution began with a vision. It was not merely a desire to replace the previous regime and its figureheads; it was a dream of a future without everything that that regime stood for. A nation based on the equal application and equal protection of the law. A nation where justice is not merely a luxury of the elite, but a staple of society. A nation where a person’s effort and talent are the chief source of remuneration, not his bloodline and personal contacts.

To achieve this dream, we must all work together to build this nation. We owe it to our martyrs, who sacrificed, life, limb, and honor, to provide us with the things they knew they were giving up for themselves. Out of respect for their sacrifices, in conformity with their dream, in compliance and with the laws of God and nature, and the accordance to the civic and political rights of man, we implore this government to abide by its legal oaths, made to all citizens, regardless of their physical location.

Thus, we implore you to begin a new policy of enfranchisement, forever reneging the book of discrimination and the policies of exclusion. We urge you to work with the Libyan Diaspora Absentee Ballot Task Force and the international community to secure the rights of Libyan citizens and ensure their participation in the upcoming elections.


· Interim Constitutional Declaration, as issued by the National Transitional Council

o   Article 6: Libyans shall be equal before the law. They shall enjoy equal civil and political rights, shall have the same opportunities, and be subject to the same public duties and obligations, without discrimination due to religion, doctrine, language, wealth, race, kinship, political opinions, and social status, tribal or eminent or familial loyalty.

o   Article 30: The National Public Conference shall consist of two hundred elected members from amongst all the sons of the Libyan People in accordance with the law of electing the National Public Conference.

· Law Number (4) for the year 2012 (Election Law)

o   Ch. IV, Article 8: The Commission is assigned the organization of voter register inside and outside the country. Registration conditions and regulations and revision of the register data are defined by the Commission.

o   Ch. IV, Article 9: Voter eligibility requirements:

· Must hold a Libyan citizenship and enjoys full legal capacity.

· Must be more than 18 years old.

· Must be registered in the voters register.

· Must have a clear criminal record.

· Military personnel do not have the right to vote.

o  Ch. IV, Article 29: The Commission will set dates and special procedures for voting system to the Libyan lives abroad, where the Commission deems it possible, logistically and security wise, to carry out such elections.


· The Constitution of Libya, 1951
o  Ch. II, Article 8: Every person who resides in Libya and has no other nationality, or is not the subject of any other State, shall be deemed to be a Libyan if he fulfils one of the following conditions:

(1) That he was born in Libya.

(2) That either of his parents was born in Libya.

(3) That he has had his normal residence in Libya for a period of not less than ten years.

o  Ch. II, Article 9: Subject to the provisions of Article (8) of this Constitution, the conditions necessary for acquiring Libyan nationality shall be determined by a law. Such law shall grant facilities to expatriates of Libyan origin residing abroad and to their children, and to citizens of Arab countries, and to foreigners who are residing in Libya and who at the coming into force of this Constitution have had their normal residence in Libya for a period of not less than ten years. Persons of the latter category may opt for Libyan nationality in accordance with the conditions prescribed by the law, provided they apply for it within three years as from the 1st of January 1952.

o  Ch. VII, Article 102: Libyans who have completed their twenty-first year (Gregorian) shall be entitled to vote in the manner prescribed in the law. Women may exercise this right in accordance with the conditions provided for in the law.

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