Libya Begins Plan to Elect Assembly

Libya’s interim government posted on its Web site a draft law laying out procedures for electing a planned constitutional assembly, taking a first step toward the establishment of a new government after the overthrow of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi.

The draft law leaves the most difficult and politically delicate questions, like drawing up districts or settling on an electoral system, to a proposed commission to be named later. Those questions are especially thorny because their answers will inevitably favor some regions or groups over others.

The transitional government is already struggling with little success to persuade various local militias around the country to surrender their arms and submit to a central authority. The local chiefs are holding on to their weapons in part to ensure that their local interests do not lose out in the formation of a new government.

The law would bar former officials of the Qaddafi government from serving on the panel. But it would not remove them from the current interim administration or from future government jobs. The presence of former Qaddafi government personnel is a common complaint with the transitional administration.

The law would allocate 20 of the 200 seats in the assembly to women. The assembly is expected to be chosen by June and empowered to form a government while it writes a new constitution.

(Source: New York Times)

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