Libyan capital prepares to elect local council

The Libyan capital will elect its local council by May 5 in its first poll since the ouster of Moamer Gathafi, the deputy chairman of the Tripoli council announced on Sunday.

The Tripoli council will keep its current format and comprise 10 representatives, one from each of the capital's districts, along with a chairman and vice-chairman, Hesham Krekshi said.

"Elections must take place by May 5," he told journalists in Tripoli, announcing the formation of an electoral commission.

He said the Mediterranean city faced a special challenge in organising such a vote due to its size and because parts of the population supported the Gathafi regime until the very end.

"Misrata was easier because it is a close-knit community," he said in reference to Libya's battered third city which made history on February 20 by staging the country's first democratic vote.

Krekshi said anyone could run for office as long as they were "clean."

"In order to be a member of the council you have to be clean, you can't have blood on your hands," he said.

About 1.3 million of Tripoli's estimated two million residents are eligible to vote, Krekshi said, adding that the number is based on "family-books" issued by the former regime.

Libya's interim leaders say they are on track to hold elections for a constituent assembly in June. Local elections are widely seen as a necessary stepping stone towards the nationwide poll.

(Source: Middle East Online)

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