Libyan vote likely delayed

June 4, 2012 at 11:12 AM
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TRIPOLI, Libya, June 4 (UPI) -- The first nationwide democratic election in Libya might be delayed until July because of vetting and logistical concerns, an official said.

In late May, Libyan elections officials said roughly 2.7 million adults registered to vote in an election for a 200-member panel tasked with drafting a post-war constitution. Ian Martin, U.N. special envoy for Libya, said the "milestone" was coupled with the registration of an assortment of political parties.

Elections were slated for June 19, though a Libyan official told al-Jazeera on condition of anonymity that it might be July before voters head to the polls.

The official said ratification for the estimated 4,000 potential candidates was scheduled for completion by Wednesday. The vote would be the first in a generation for Libyans, but vetting procedures were complicated by the May departure of key election officials.

Moammar Gahdafi's regime collapsed last year under the dual strains of civil and a NATO-led intervention. The security situation in the country is complicated by tribal conflicts and internal rivalries.

Flights into Tripoli were diverted Monday after a group calling itself al-Awfea Brigade surrounding the airport briefly, demanding the release of a rebel leader said to have disappeared during the weekend, al-Jazeera adds.

Interim authorities said the leader, Abu Oegeila al-Hebeishi, was kidnapped by unknown fighters. Al-Jazeera reported the situation at the international airport has since returned to normal.

There were no reports of casualties associated with the standoff.

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