Libya’s first election in 40 years has been postponed from the long-promised date of June 19 to July 7, with serious doubt that the election will be held on the new date. I, among many commentators, predicted the delay and I now doubt credible elections could be held in the near future. The National Election Commission (NEC) cited logistical and procedural obstacles in announcing the delay. However, what the NEC failed to mention was that the real obstacles are deeper and more serious, the kind of obstacles that make elections far from conclusive, let alone democratically representative.
Libya as a country remains as divided as it was the day after the former regime was toppled with NATO's help in a bloody war that lasted almost a year. The national reconciliation process never got anywhere, leaving the Libyan people further divided than they were during the war. The interim government remains weak and unable to assert its authority over large parts of the country, particularly in Kufra and Sebha in the south and other smaller regions in the north and northwest.