Slightly more than a million Libyans went to some 3,800 polling stations Feb. 20 to elect 58 members of a constitutional assembly, or “committee of sixty” as it is called locally, which will draft the country’s first constitution since 1951. Voters chose from among 559 candidates purposely without political party representation, to help guarantee the independence of the elected body.
Nearly half of all registered voters were women, while the quota for women in the assembly was set at only six seats. The elections are based on a 1951 formula that divides the country into three regions — Tripolitania in the west, Cyrenaica in the east and Fezzan in the south — with each region allocated 20 seats. Such arrangements will prove to be a major hurdle in the future, once the elections are over and the results are in, because they further entrench division.