(I wrote a more professional post on the elections for Libyan Youth Voices, which you can check out here)
Oh my God. Tomorrow’s the 25th? The parliamentary elections are tomorrow! Okay, just be cool. It’s not like these are possibly the most critical elections in Libya’s history or anything.
Wait, what? They are? Hehe. Okay, no worries. *sweating and panicking* But, I mean, I’m just one vote, it’s not like I could single-handedly undermine the nation or anything.
Weeell. Technically, two votes. And you could be responsible for voting imbalance.
What is that?
Say you and the majority of denizens vote for the best candidate on the ballot. Any of the other lesser candidates could also gain a seat from their supporters, without needing a large amount of votes. This means that unpleasant people (like former GNC members who are running) have a chance at winning. Remember, if you live in Benghazi, 20 candidates will be chosen for the House of Representatives, 16 men and 4 women.
So, who should I vote for?
Everyone has own their method of choosing the ideal candidate. For a lot of people, being affiliated with a certain political party *coughMBcough* is enough to reject candidates. Others look for family name and status, activism, political ideology and so on.
I think that the best thing to do is to vote for someone who represents you as an individual. If you’re in the youth demographic, vote for a youth candidate. If you’re in civil society, go with the activist. But check their background and history and ensure that they’re someone you can trust with your voice. Don’t just vote for whomever your parents like. And certainly DON’T vote for former GNC members.
Ugh, but how will I know which candidates I can trust? That would require a lot of work and research.
Pretend like it’s a quiz. Except if you fail, YOUR COUNTRY COLLAPSES.
The three-day debates in Benghazi were a great way to familiarize yourself with some of the candidates. There’s nothing like blatantly asking a potential representative if they supported extremist groups and then watch them flinch at the question to let you know they’re not very trustworthy.
But I wasn’t kidding when I said these elections are absolutely critical. It’s not just the fear of voting for the wrong candidate (confession: I voted for Salah Jaouda in the GNC elections and yes, it’ll haunt me for a very long time) but also the fact that, if these guys fail us the way the previous government has, Libya is done for. With the extremists vs. Hifter showdown in the skies and streets of Benghazi, and the political tug-of-war in Tripoli between various militias, the country has never been more fragile. At risk of dropping a drama-bomb (pun totally intentional), our hopes are riding on the success of these elections and those who win.
I’ve taken the liberty of compiling a to-do list for the Parliament members once they’re sworn in:
- Kick the GNC out the door (and preferably into a courtroom)
- Visit Derna and the South and figure out what the hell is going on there
- More security
- Constitution confirmation (affirmation? I don’t know what the legal term is)
- Working traffic lights would be nice, with someone to enforce them. And better roads maybe? Replacing car tires is expensive
- Are you in charge of the borders? If so, do those. (And by do, I mean construct a 10 meter high electric fence with rabid pit bulls guarding it.)
- Fight crime and corruption so hard that people will write songs about you to sing to their grandchildren
As you can see, we need to work on literally everything. Many candidates have said that now is not the time for development but stabilizing. While this is true, its also depressing, because the longer it takes to calm things down, the longer we have to wait to see a better Libya.
Yeah that’s right, I said ‘a better Libya’, you snickering pessimist. While a betting man wouldn’t touch those odds, it’s not like we’ve got a spare country to retreat to.
So, yeah, basically, vote smart. If you don’t, and our country regresses further into a lawless jungle, I’ll be the first to raid your house.
(For the arabic version of the candidates article, you can find it here)