Libya amends constitution in concession to regions
TRIPOLI - Libyan authorities said on Thursday that they have amended the constitution-making process to allow for greater regional representation.
Libya is on track to elect a constituent assembly in June.
The assembly would appoint a committee of 60 experts to draft a new constitution which would be modelled on the 1951 charter, the ruling National Transitional Council said in a statement.
Committee representation would be evenly split between the regions of Tripolitana in the west, Cyrenaica in the east and Fezzan in the south, judicial committee chairman Salwa al-Deghili said.
Libya was divided into three administrative regions until King Idriss al-Senussi abolished the federal system in 1963.
The decision to amend the constitutional declaration, which was adopted in August to map out governance during a transition period, reduces the influence of Tripolitana, which includes the capital of Tripoli.
The amendment aims to "diffuse the tensions" spawned by decades of harsh central government under Moamer Gathafi which led to a feeling of marginalistion in the east and the south, Deghili added.
It comes hot at the heels of a bold bid by tribal and political leaders to carve out an autonomous territory in the oil-rich east which raised fears the country might split along regional lines.
Deghili said the allocation of seats in the 200-member constituent assembly was reconfigured, granting half of the seats to the capital (instead of 102), 60 to the east and 40 to the south.
Voting in the assembly will require a two-third majority, she added.
"This way no region will be able to pass a decision without the support of other regions," Deghili added.
Since the ouster of Gathafi, residents in the east of the country have denounced their historic marginalisation and rejected the concentration of power in the west.