Libya’s first election in more than half a century will take place 18 days later than planned because of the logistical challenges in a country still recovering from last year’s revolt, the electoral commission said on Sunday. The election, for an assembly which will re-draw the autocratic system of rule put in place by ousted leader Muammar Gaddafi, will now take place on July 7 instead of the previous date of June 19. “We never planned on postponing the election, we worked hard for the election to be on time,” Nuri al-Abbar, head of the electoral commission, told a news conference. “I don’t want to blame anybody for the postponement, I just want to make sure the elections are transparent.”
He said that crucial pieces of preparation for the election – including voter registration and vetting candidates to make sure they had no links to Gaddafi – had run over schedule, making it impossible to hold the vote on the planned date. He said the commission had only started its duties in February, giving it only a short time to prepare the polls. The election will be a milestone for Libya as it seeks to build democratic institutions after last year’s “Arab Spring” revolt. But those aspirations have come up against the reality of organizing a major logistical exercise in a country with no functioning bureaucracy, poor security, and only a distant memory of holding nationwide elections.
During his 42-year rule, Gaddafi banned direct elections, saying they were bourgeois and anti-democratic. The last time Libya held a multi-party national election was in 1952, under the reign of King Idris. The election set for next month is for a national assembly whose job it will be to oversee the government, draft a new constitution and schedule a new round of polls.
Full Article: Libya postpones landmark election to July 7 | Reuters.