Libyans will directly elect a committee to write the country’s new constitution, lawmakers said, reversing a decision requiring parliament to carry out the task.
The decision by the 200-strong General National Congress was taken in a vote in late yesterday in Tripoli, its spokesman, Omar Hmaidan, said in a telephone interview. A total of 87 of the 97 lawmakers present voted in favor of the move, he said.
Hassan El Amin, an independent lawmaker from the western city of Misrata, said politicians had to pay attention to public opinion, which has been critical of the government’s performance. “It is obvious people wanted elections,” he said. “There’s a lack of confidence in the National Congress.”
No date for elections was announced. “It will take some months,” El Amin said.
Under the so-called road-map for Libya’s transition to a modern state, the country was meant to have a new constitution within 330 days of the end of the revolution that ousted the late Muammar Qaddafi in Oct. 2011, paving the way for elections in the spring of 2013. The process has been beset by delays, hampering the foreign investment needed for reconstruction and economic development.
“This decision is an important milestone, paving the way for continued progress toward a constitution that reflects the needs, priorities, and aspirations of the Libyan people,” said Tarek Mitri, the United Nations Secretary-General’s special representative and head of the UN Support Mission in Libya, said in a statement.
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