Unrest foils Libya poll rerun in Tuareg south, jihadist east
Tripoli: A second attempt to organise voting for a constituent assembly in a mainly Tuareg region of southwestern Libya and a jihadist bastion in the east has failed in the face of persistent insecurity.
The electoral commission yesterday said it would not make a third attempt to organise polling in the two areas and parliament would have to decide what to do about the resulting 11 vacant seats in the 60-seat assembly.
In the vast Ubari region, deep in the Sahara south of the capital, gunmen attacked polling stations and forced their closure, the commission said.
In the eastern city of Derna, a stronghold of jihadist groups opposed to the electoral process, security forces failed to deploy, forcing abandonment of the election rerun.
"Voting did not take place in 59 polling stations, including 13 in Derna and 39 in Ubari," commission member Khaled al-Saheli told a news conference.
Commission president Nuri al-Abbar said: "We sounded the alarm and warned the government and the General National Congress, but in vain."
Billed as a new milestone in the troubled transition from the 42-year dictatorship of Moamer Kadhafi, the election failed to generate much enthusiasm among voters.
Turnout in last Thursday`s voting reached just 45 per cent of the less than one-third of eligible voters who even bothered to register.
The figure was sharply down on the 2012 vote to the GNC, Libya`s first freely contested election held amid the euphoria that followed Kadhafi`s overthrow and killing the previous year.
Much of that excitement has dissipated amid frustration at the lawlessness of former rebel militias that have carved up a patchwork of fiefdoms around the country.
Another two seats in the assembly charged with drawing up a post-Kadhafi constitution, which had been reserved for the Berber minority, will also remain vacant after Berber groups called a boycott.
As a result, it will have just 47 of the 60 members it had been intended to.
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