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Libya postpones landmark election to July 7

posted 10 Jun 2012, 13:34 by Mpelembe   [ updated 10 Jun 2012, 13:34 ]

Libya's electoral commission blames organisational issues for the delay to the polls that had been scheduled for June 19 in order to elect an assembly to draft a new constitution.

TRIPOLI, LIBYA, (JUNE 10, 2012) (REUTERS) - 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 (June 10).

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 have decided to set the date of Saturday July 7, 2012 as the day of voting to elect the national assembly," Nuri al-Abbar, head of the electoral commission, told a news conference.

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.

"All of these reasons are purely logistical and technical, and we couldn't announce it before because of the lack of data," he said.

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 organising a major logistical exercise in a country with no functioning bureaucracy, poor security, and only a distant memory of holding nationwide elections.