Libya's landmark vote postponed to July 7



TRIPOLI, Imed Lamloum- Libya on Sunday announced that elections for a constituent assembly, the country's first national vote after four decades of dictatorship under toppled leader Moamer Kadhafi, has been postponed to July 7.
The election had originally been slated to be held by June 19.



"The date for the elections will be July 7," the president of the electoral commission, Nuri al-Abbar, told a news conference in Tripoli, citing "logistical and technical" reasons for the delay.
The vote was postponed due to a delay in adopting a law to organise the elections, in order to give voters more time to register and to allow candidates who have been ruled out by the commission to appeal the decision, Abbar said.
He said that the commission started its duties on February 12 which gave it only "128 days to prepare the elections... a very short time, especially for a country that hasn't seen elections for almost half a century."
Abbar added that a note was sent on Sunday to the ruling National Transitional Council (NTC) to explain the decision to delay the vote.
A commission member on Saturday had suggested that the vote could be held July 10, also giving similar reasons for the postponement.
Another member of the electoral commission said the postponement had been decided in consultation with UN officials working with the commission who had "proposed a date during the first week in July."
More than 2.7 million Libyans, or around 80 percent of eligible voters, have registered to participate in the election.
The ruling National Transitional Council, having declared the country's "liberation" three days after the October 20 capture and killing of Kadhafi, launched a roadmap to a new Libya with a 20-month countdown to elections.
A transitional government was to organise within eight months the election of a 200-member assembly, or "general national congress." The NTC is to step down once the congress holds its first session.
Dozens of parties, which were banned under Kadhafi's iron-grip rule as a "Western invention", have been founded in the months ahead of the election.
A total of 120 seats on the assembly are reserved for independents, with the rest open to contest by political associations.
On June 3, the commission instructed the 4,000 candidates who hope to run in the polls not to launch campaigning before a date is announced.
On Friday, the European Union said it has deployed an election assessment team to Libya ahead of the polls, which EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton has described as a "crucial step in the ongoing transition."
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Monday, June 11th 2012
Imed Lamloum
           


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