The Freeland File
Global Market Data
Tales from the Trail
Lucy P. Marcus
David Cay Johnston
The Great Debate
Jack & Suzy Welch
Macro & Markets
Lipper Awards 2012
Personal Finance Video
Photos of the week
Our top photos from the past week. See more
Images of May
Capriles rallies Venezuelans to challenge Chavez
10 Jun 2012
Four dead in Sacramento gang shooting
Analysis: EU's Spain bank rescue may bring only brief respite
Muslim, Buddhist mob violence threatens new Myanmar image
Skeptical Spaniards pour scorn on Rajoy over rescue
10 Jun 2012
Wisconsin recall election too close to call after polls close
Exclusive: Drones ”inhumane”, dead al Qaeda man’s family says
Obama: U.S. economy ”not doing fine”, action needed
Chip-based human organs to revolutionize drug development
Sun, Jun 10 2012
Self-adjusting glasses a clear alternative for the developing world
Fri, Jun 8 2012
PM Rajoy says his reforms saved Spain from full rescue
Sun, Jun 10 2012
Libya postpones landmark election to July 7
ICC sends team to Libya after delegation detained
Analysis & Opinion
Angus King and the rise of the independent
Scott Walker won because he took action against soaring pension costs
United Nations »
1 of 2. Youths stand in front of an electoral banner showing a man holding a voting card in Benghazi June 4, 2012.
Credit: Reuters/Esam Al-Fetori
By Marie-Louise Gumuchian
Mon Jun 11, 2012 2:26am EDT
TRIPOLI (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.
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.
The United Nations said the new date would "enable essential preparations to be completed prior to voting".
"What has been achieved so far is admirable, especially in the context of an extremely tight timetable and major operational challenges," Ian Martin, head of the U.N. mission in Libya, said in a statement. "I am confident of the commitment of the election commission and all authorities to see an early and successful conclusion of this electoral process."
At the moment Libya is governed by the National Transitional Council, an unelected body of civic and tribal leaders and Gaddafi opponents which is recognized internationally as the country's legitimate leadership.
Libyans began registering for the election in May and around 2.7 million people, or about 80 percent of eligible voters, have put their names down to participate.
In the assembly, 80 of the 200 seats will go to political parties and the rest to independent candidates.
Dozens of new parties have sprung up offering a diverse mix of democratic, Islamist, free market and nationalist agendas. Islamists, in particular, are expected to perform well in Libya, a socially-conservative country.
(Writing by Christian Lowe; Editing by Alessandra Rizzo)
We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Back to top
New York Legal
Support & Contact
Connect with Reuters
Our Flagship financial information platform incorporating Reuters Insider
An ultra-low latency infrastructure for electronic trading and data distribution
A connected approach to governance, risk and compliance
Our next generation legal research platform
Our global tax workstation
About Thomson Reuters
Thomson Reuters is the world's largest international multimedia news agency, providing investing news, world news, business news, technology news, headline news, small business news, news alerts, personal finance, stock market, and mutual funds information available on Reuters.com, video, mobile, and interactive television platforms. Thomson Reuters journalists are subject to an Editorial Handbook which requires fair presentation and disclosure of relevant interests.
NYSE and AMEX quotes delayed by at least 20 minutes. Nasdaq delayed by at least 15 minutes. For a complete list of exchanges and delays, please click here.