Libya elections delayed

2012-06-10 21:09

Tripoli - Libya on Sunday announced that elections for the country's constituent assembly, initially slated to be held by 19 June, had been postponed to 7 July.

"The date for the elections will be 7 July," 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.

The election will be Libya's first national poll after four decades of dictatorship under toppled leader Muammar Gaddafi.

A commission member on Saturday had suggested that the vote could be held 10 July, 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% 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 have been founded in the months ahead of the election. On 3 June, the commission instructed the 4 000 candidates who hope to run in the polls not to launch campaigning before a date is announced.

The Arab Spring upheavals have led to elections in which Islamists have emerged the big winners, with the same trend expected in Libya.

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."