Tripoli – Campaigning for Libya’s first national election in a generation will kick off on Monday ahead of 7 July polls to choose an national assembly which will re-draw the autocratic system of rule put in place by ousted leader Muammar Gaddafi.
In a statement on its website, Libya’s electoral commission said candidates will have 18 days to campaign, from 18 June until 5 July, with 2 501 independents and 1 206 political association candidates eligible to stand.
Candidates are being fielded from 142 political associations, said the commission, in polls due to be held 18 days later than originally planned because of the logistical challenges in a country still recovering from last year’s revolt.
Eighty of the assembly’s 200 seats will go to political parties and the rest to independent candidates. The assembly’s job will be to oversee the government, draft a new constitution and schedule a new round of elections. Libyans began registering for the election in May and around 2.7 million people, or about 80% of eligible voters, have put their names down to participate.
The country is currently governed by the National Transitional Council, an unelected body of civic and tribal leaders and Gaddafi opponents which is recognised internationally as the country’s legitimate leadership. During his 42-year rule, Gaddafi banned direct elections, saying they were bourgeois and anti-democratic.