Libyans to elect constitutional commission on Feb 20

AFP , Thursday 30 Jan 2014

Libyans will go to the polls on February 20 to choose a commission to draft a new constitution, the president of the General National Congress said Thursday.

Following the ouster of long-time dictator Moamer Kadhafi, Libya held its first free vote ever in July 2012 to choose the GNC, the country's highest political authority.

The GNC was given an 18-month mandate to steer the country towards general elections after drafting a new constitution.

But political bickering has prevented moving toward electing the body that will draft the new charter.

"The GNC, in coordination with the High National Election Commission, decided to fixed the elections to the commission of 60 for February 20," Nuri Abu Sahmein said.

Libyans living abroad will be able to vote from February 15 to 17, he added.

The constitutional commission is to be made up of 60 members, with equal representation for Libya's three regions. But the Amazigh minority has said it will boycott the polls in protest at its alleged marginalisation in the process.

The charter is to cover key issues such as Libya's system of government, the status of minorities and the role of Islamic sharia law.

The election commission said only 436,000 Libyans out of an eligible 3.4 million had signed up to vote ahead of a December 21 deadline.

Voter apathy coincides with persistent security problems in Libya and the lack of a clear political roadmap more than two years after the uprising that ended four decades of Kadhafi dictatorship.

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