Flare-up in east of the country


The Benghazi offices of the High National Election Commission have been attacked by a group of up to 300 protestors, demanding greater autonomy for the eastern region. Ballot boxes were removed and ballot papers for Saturday’s parliamentary election – the first democratic poll since the fall of Colonel Gaddafi – were burnt in the street.

Pro-autonomy leaders have called for a boycott of the election on the basis that eastern Libya should be given a greater share of seats in the new parliament. Current electoral legislation gives 60 seats to the eastern province, 102 to the west and a further 38 to the rest of the country.

There have also been clashes in Kufra, where Tabu tribal leaders have also indicated they will boycott the poll if government troops and tanks are not withdrawn. The Tabu are currently fighting a rival tribe, the Zwia and want their own representatives in the new parliament.

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