Libya commission extends voter registration
TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) — Libya’s election commission said Wednesday it is extending the registration period for voters until the end of the month, further delaying the elections for parliament that has an already expired mandate.
The parliament split between Islamists and non-Islamist groups was to be dissolved in February. Islamists led a motion to extend its mandate but after protests from opponents, the parliament agreed to an early vote, but didn’t set a date.
On Wednesday, the head of the election commission Emad al-Sayeh said it is extending the deadline for registration from May 15 to May 29 to allow more voters to register. So far, only 1.2 million voters registered to vote in the parliament elections.
The Libyan parliament is sharply divided. Earlier this month, the parliament voted on a new prime minister amid disputes and walkouts between Islamists and non-Islamists. Finally, a new prime minister, Islamist-backed Ahmed Maiteg, was elected and sworn in despite an outcry from the non-Islamist forces.
In his first televised interview after he was sworn in last week, Maiteg promised to ensure a democratic transition and to pave the way for parliamentarian elections.
Libya has been plagued by weak governments and sporadic violence since the downfall of longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi in an eight-month civil war in 2011. Successive governments have depended on militias to restore law and order, but the armed groups — supported cities, tribes or political factions — have pressured the government and parliament.