Libya to vote on new con­sti­tu­tion by end Fe­bru­ary

The Daily Star (Lebanon) - - REGION -

BENG­HAZI, Libya: The chair­man of Libya’s elec­tions com­mis­sion said Thurs­day that the be­lea­guered North African na­tion will hold a ref­er­en­dum on a new con­sti­tu­tion be­fore the end of Fe­bru­ary.

The an­nounce­ment by Emad alSayeh sig­nals a small step to­ward restor­ing unity and po­lit­i­cal sta­bil­ity after years of chaos that fol­lowed the 2011 upris­ing. But au­thor­i­ties have yet to agree on a date or mech­a­nism for pres­i­den­tial or par­lia­men­tary elec­tions, and the se­cu­rity sit­u­a­tion re­mains volatile.

Moam­mar Gad­hafi ruled with an iron fist from 1969 un­til he was over­thrown and killed in the upris­ing. Libya is now gov­erned by ri­val ad­min­is­tra­tions in the east and west and has be­come a haven for armed groups, in­clud­ing sev­eral from neigh­bor­ing coun­tries, that sur­vive on loot­ing and hu­man traf­fick­ing.

“This process is not just a ref­er­en­dum on the con­sti­tu­tion, it’s a ref­er­en­dum on the fate of the na­tion,” Sayeh told a news con­fer­ence in the Libyan cap­i­tal, Tripoli. “If it fails, every­one must be held re­spon­si­ble, not just the com­mis­sion.”

He warned that the ref­er­en­dum, which would be the first in half a cen­tury, could be de­layed if the elec­tion com­mis­sion does not re­ceive se­cu­rity guar­an­tees and funds to or­ga­nize the vote. –

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