Libya to elect constitutional assembly on February 20

Photo: Libya to elect constitutional assembly on February 20 / Arab World

Libya will elect an assembly on February 20 to draft a constitution intended to advance its transition to democracy after the 2011 ouster of Moammer Gaddafi, the official LANA news agency reported on Friday.

The country's election commission announced on Thursday that overseas voting will be held between February 15 and 17, and that domestic voting will take place three days later, dpa reported.

Candidate registration will end on February 10, High National Elections Commission chief Nuri al-Abbar confirmed.

A total of 649 candidates have been accepted so far, Libya Herald news website reported.

Despite the initial intention to allow parliamentarians to elect the panel, an eleventh-hour change before the 2012 election stipulated that it was to be elected separately.

The 60-seat assembly will be divided into 20 seats for each of the country's three historic regions: the central-western Tripolitania, the eastern Cyrenaica and the southern Fezzan.

Six seats have been allocated to female candidates - two from each province - while a further six have been reserved for the country's ethnic minorities - the Amazigh, Tebu and Tuareg.

Drafting a constitution, a process which was supposed to have been completed last year, marks a major step in the country's political transition, which was prompted by the ouster and killing of Gaddafi.

The vote comes against the backdrop of political unrest as Libya's nascent army struggles to assert itself against unruly former rebels.

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