Libyan Constituent Assembly Election in Progress; Violence Erupts

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Libyans are at the polls today to elect the Constituent Assembly, which will be charged with creating a Libyan constitution. The elections came just after two powerful militias “threatened on Tuesday to dissolve the General National Congress (GNC),” which Al-Jazeera called “a reminder of the country’s political fragility.” UN Special Representative Tarek Mitri warned similarly that the militias’ actions threatened “the stability of Libya and the political process.”

This morning, at least four bombs detonated in Derna, damaging 4 Libyan polling stations. Carlotta Gall reported that Libyans are “disillusioned with the lack of progress.” She also quoted Claudia Gazzini, a senior analyst for the International Crisis Group in Libya, as saying that rather than coming out to vote, Libyans are saying, “I’m not going to dip my hand in the ink this time.”

The International Foundation for Electoral Systems’ publication “Elections in Libya: The Constituent Assembly for the Drafting of the Constitution” reported that 1,101,025 Libyans registered to vote in the Constituent Assembly elections. The IFES election guide also says that, according to Libyan law, preliminary results must be reported within 10 days of the election, with final results reported with 25 days. The Constituent Assembly will be comprised of 60 members, 20 members each from the East, the West, and the South.

Ahead of the elections, the United States reiterated its support for the Libyan government. Deputy State Department Spokesperson Marie Harf said, “Obviously, we are close partners with the Libyan Government as they are going through their democratic transition, as we are helping them work to build their capacity both on the governance side, but also on the security side… Obviously we fully support the transitional, democratic process, the one that was outlined in their constitutional declaration from 2011, and believe that the use of force is not a legitimate means to divert this democratic transition.”