Growing tensions in Libya ahead of elections
Libyan protesters and militia attacked the headquarters of the electoral commission in Benghazi on Sunday, burning of ballots just one week before the first general election to be held in Libya for nearly five decades.
Meanwhile, in southern Libya, a leader of the Tabu tribe has threatened to boycott the elections if the government did not withdraw its fighters and tanks in a desert town where clashes have claimed dozens of victims. Violence and boycott calls threaten to undermine the electoral process which should lead to the formation of an assembly of 200 members, a government and a new constitution.
In Benghazi, the cradle of the insurgency that led to the downfall of Muammar Gaddafi, the commander of a former rebel militia, Fadallah Haroun, joined the protest near the headquarters of the electoral commission. The attack took place after the transition board of Tripoli had rejected the request to grant to the eastern provinces a fair representation in the new assembly. Two other cities in the eastern part of Libya have experienced the same situation, said the commander.
"We want justice. We lost tens of thousands of martyrs because we want a state based on principles of justice, rule of law and equal rights, "stressed Fadallah Haroun.
Currently, it is expected that Tripoli and western Libya will have a total of 102 seats while the east would have 60. The remaining seats would be reserved to the south of the country, which is sparsely populated.
Representatives from the east feel that this will prevent them from having their say about the new constitution.
The election on July 7 will be the first to be held since the 1960s. Muammar Gaddafi, who led the country with an iron fist for 42 years, had banned political parties and elections.