Libya’s electoral commission Saturday announced the preliminary results from polls for an assembly to draw up a new constitution, although 13 of 60 seats remained vacant after unrest in several areas stopped voting. The election to choose the body to draft a new constitution had been billed as a milestone in the country’s transition from the 42-year dictatorship of Moamer Gathafi, but failed to spark enthusiasm among voters. Political parties were not officially represented at the vote, which was organised on February 20, and only individuals were allowed to present themselves as candidates. Early results suggested liberal candidates did well in the capital Tripoli and the eastern city of Benghazi, which has been a hotbed of Islamist unrest since Gathafi’s ouster in October 2011. But the electoral commission said voting had not taken place in 93 out of some 1,600 stations because of unrest and a boycott by minority groups in some areas.
Although the commission had reorganised ballots on Wednesday in areas where voting had been prevented on February 20, unrest once again stopped the vote from going ahead.
As well as the 11 seats left vacant because of violence, another two seats reserved for the Berber minority will remain empty after the community boycotted the vote in protest at the absence of mechanisms to guarantee its cultural rights under a future constitution.
The General National Congress, the country’s highest political authority, will decide what to do with the 13 vacant seats, the commission’s president Nuri al-Abbar said.
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