Low turnout for Libyan general election

26 June 2014

Elections marred by violence as less than half those registered to vote participate in poll

The Libyan general election has recorded a low turnout, with less than half of those registered to vote having taken to the polls, according to Libyan officials.

Officials reported that about 630,000 people voted as part of the 25 June election as a number of violent clashes occurred throughout the country. About 1.5 million people, out of the eligible 3.5 million, had been registered to vote.

The general election was the second vote since former leader Muammar Gaddafi was ousted in 2011. The election was held to elect members of the new Council of Representatives, which replaces the General National Congress – set up in July 2012 to form a new constitution.

According to officials reported in international media, at least five people died in Benghazi after Islamist militants attacked a security headquarters in protest at the elections. In a separate incident, human rights activist Salwa Bughaighis was killed by gunmen after returning from the polls. Bughaighis had been a member of Libya’s interim National Transitional Council after the overthrow of Gaddafi.

The elections followed the recent passing of the overdue 2014 budget, worth LD56.5bn ($47bn).

The budget, which was delayed significantly due to political unrest, sees the government drawing on reserves to offset the loss in oil export revenues amid protests at major ports.

The budget will be funded by LD8bn of surpluses, a central bank reserve fund of LD16bn and LD26bn in oil revenue, according to head of the budget committee, Mohamed Abdullah.

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