Fears of violence are rising in Libya on the eve of the country's first free election in more than 50 years. Saturday's National Assembly elections could determine whether Libya continues to suffer discord along ethnic and regional lines or consolidates its moves toward becoming a new, democratic state.
"It is important to keep in mind that in a postconflict election like [this one], the main concern is usually about credibility," Ayman Ayoub, regional director for Western Asia and North Africa at the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, told Trend Lines. "What really matters is that the elections are conducted in an acceptable manner, and in keeping with acceptable standards to the Libyans, that lead to acceptance of the results by all contenders and the population at large."
The winners will not have legitimacy without credible elections, Ayoub said. And legitimacy is essential for the new transitional government to develop a constitution that meets the needs of the people, "while constituting a good basis [on which] to build their own democratic system of governance."