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Libya: Landmark vote postponed until July 7

Electoral commission blames technical and logistical issues.

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Nuri al-Abbar, president of the Libyan electoral commission, at a press conference in Tripoli to announce that elections for the country's constituent assembly have been postponed until July 7. (GIANLUIGI GUERCIA/AFP/Getty Images)

Libya has pushed back the date for its first first national election after four decades of dictatorship under Muammar Gaddafi.

Al Jazeera reports that head of the electoral commission Nuri al-Abbar has announced that the elections for a national assembly will now be held on July 7 instead of June 19. 

Abbar blamed "logistical and technical" reasons for the delay, according to AAP.  He said that there had been a delay in adopting a law to organize the elections, and voters needed more time to register, while candidates who have been ruled out by the commission had to be given a chance to appeal the decision. 

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The New York Times says Abbar's announcement is "official confirmation of an open secret", with the interim government having hinted for weeks that it would not be ready by June 19.

"I don't want to blame anybody for the postponement, I just want to make sure the elections are transparent," Abbar is quoted as saying by Reuters.

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AFP explains that the transitional government, the National Transitional Council (NTC), was given just eight months to organize the election of a 200-member assembly, known as the "general national congress", and will step down once the congress holds its first session.

Voice of America says that the United Nations mission in Libya had welcomed the decision to postpone the poll, because it would “enable essential preparations to be completed prior to voting.”

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/120611/libya-landmark-vote-postponed-until-july-7