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Libya sets new voting date for regions hit by violence

Voting for a constitutional panel will take place in five Libyan regions where violence stopped people from going to polling stations as planned this week, the electoral commission said.

TRIPOLI: Voting for a constitutional panel will take place on Wednesday in five Libyan regions where violence stopped people from going to polling stations as planned this week, the electoral commission said.

While Libyans voted Thursday to elect a panel to draft a new constitution across most of the North African country, violence prevented the process in four regions in the south and one in the east.

Electoral commission chief Nuri al-Abbar told reporters Friday that those deprived of voting due to violence in the eastern region of Derna and the southern areas of Sebha, Oubari, Murzak and Kufra would be able to cast their ballots on Wednesday.

On the eve of Thursday's vote, gunmen killed the caretaker of a school that was to be used as a polling station in Derna, a bastion of militant groups.

Five other polling stations in Derna were bombed, and on voting day a gunmen forced the closure of another one.

Meanwhile, members of the ethnic minority Toubou and Tuareg group prevented electoral material from being dispersed in their southern regions, to protest against the election.

Six seats have been reserved for members of Libya's ethnic minority groups, including the Amazigh, on the 60-seat constitutional panel.

But all three groups boycotted Thursday's vote over a perceived lack of mechanism to preserve their cultural heritage, saying the interim authorities failed to guarantee them a bigger say in drawing up the new constitution.

Meanwhile, turnout for Thursday's vote came in at a low 45 per cent, reflecting a lack of enthusiasm and the public's frustration over the government's failure to put an end to widespread lawlessness.

Only a third of Libya's 3.4 million eligible voters bothered to register compared with more than 2.7 million in 2012 when the first free elections were held in the aftermath of the uprising that toppled and killed dictator Moamer Gadhafi.

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