Home > LIBYA, POLITICS > Libya security issues ‘prevent voting in 101 centres’

Libya security issues ‘prevent voting in 101 centres’

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Libyan democracy: Regional division, bloodshed mar first post-Gaddafi poll – RT

 

EPA (File)

 

Acts of sabotage, mostly in the east of the country, prevented 101 polling stations from opening on Saturday in Libya’s first post-Kadhafi election, the electoral commission’s chairman said.
“Ninety-four percent of polling stations opened,” Nuri al-Abbar told reporters in Tripoli, with voting underway in 1,453 out of 1,554 centres.

Anti-poll protesters burn Libyan ballots in Benghazi

Anti-election protesters in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi set fire to ballot slips after looting them from a local polling station, witnesses said on Saturday in the first sign of trouble in landmark national elections.

Witnesses said the protesters set alight hundreds of ballot slips in a downtown square.

Reuters reporters saw them drive off, shooting in the air as the charred remains burned.

Benghazi, the launchpad of last year’s uprising against Muammar Gaddafi, has seen a spate of protests by local groups who complain the east is being neglected by authorities in the capital Tripoli and who want more powers for the region.

AFP, Reuters.

VOR.

 

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Libyan democracy: Regional division, bloodshed mar first post-Gaddafi poll

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Libyan polling station workers prepare electoral material at a school in the Tajura district of Tripoli on July 7, 2012 on the eve of a general election (AFP Photo / Mahmud Turkia)

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Libyans are heading to polls for the country’s first elections since ousting Muammar Gaddafi. However, reports of pro-autonomy activists attacking ballots and continued unrest by militia groups could see Libya’s democratic dreams go up in smoke.
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Anti-election demonstrators have attacked a polling station in the eastern city of Benghazi, setting fire to ballot slips, reports Reuters. Activists burned hundreds of ballot papers before driving off, firing rounds into the air, say witnesses.
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The incident is the first sign of unrest during the country’s milestone elections.
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Libyan voters will choose from over 3,700 candidates to makeup a 200 strong National Assembly who will then be charged with electing a Prime Minister and a cabinet.
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They will also create a committee entrusted with writing the new Libyan constitution which will be put to public vote. Following the adoption of the new constitution, Libya will hold general elections for the parliament and president.
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Despite being branded the first democratic elections in decades, regional divides and the widespread existence of armed tribal groups overshadow Saturday’s poll.
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The country’s interim leaders, the National Transitional Council, sparked outrage from the East after allocating less than a third of the country’s seats to the region. The East of Libya was consistently side-lined by Gaddafi’s government and as a result is highly sensitive to the potential prolongation of the neglect they suffered.
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Demonstrators descended on a central square in Benghazi on Friday protesting the East’s underrepresentation in parliament and threatening to boycott the vote.
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Armed militia groups and tribal factions scattered throughout the country have the potential to put to the breaks on Libya’s post-Gaddafi elections.

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A number of groups have called a boycott on the polls while others have placed their support behind certain candidates, raising fears of potential skirmishes between rival factions.

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The run-up to the elections has been dogged with violence across the country from armed groups. Gunmen shot down a helicopter carrying polling materials close to the eastern city of Benghazi on the eve of Election Day, killing an election worker.
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In addition, earlier in the week armed protesters calling for autonomy in Libya’s East ransacked an election bureau in Benghazi. They burned ballot papers and destroyed computers whilst shouting pro-federalism chants.
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In response to the growing unrest the interim government’s Prime Minister, Abdurrahim el-Keib said that he would ensure a safe vote on Saturday.
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“Any action aimed at hindering the election process is against the supreme interest of the nation and serves only the remnants of the old regime,” he said following the helicopter attack on Friday. “It is threatening to the future of the revolution and its accomplishments … and an attempt to stop democracy for which Libyans sacrificed their souls.”
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The Arab Spring model

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The majority of the candidates up for vote in Saturday’s polls have an Islamic agenda, suggesting that Libya may follow in the footsteps of Egypt and Tunisia with a Muslim-dominated government.
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The NTC have already asserted that they will consider Sharia law when writing the new Libyan constitution. However, the various parties take differing views as to the extent Sharia law should be enforced in Libya.
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Partial results will be available when ballots close at 18:00 GMT on Saturday, giving some indication as to how the new assembly will look. Full preliminary results of the elections will be released on Monday.

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RT.