TRIPOLI (Reuters) - A candidate for Libya’s national elections was killed in the desert south shortly after submitting his registration, security sources said, highlighting the North African country’s volatility a month before the polls.
Khaled Abu Saleh had registered as a candidate for the national assembly elections in the town of Obari around midday on Sunday and was travelling back home when his car was targeted by an armed group, a security source said.
“We believe it was a criminal gang, an investigation is under way,” the source said. “He was travelling alone by car.”
The election, set to take place on June 19, will be a novelty for Libyans as it will be the first since the fall in a popular uprising last year of Muammar Gaddafi, who banned the ballot box during his 42-year iron-fisted rule.
The vote will play a central role in allocating power among competing regions and tribes and pave the way for a new constitution, although shaky security has raised concern for the viability of the election.
The interim government is struggling to assert its authority over dozens of militias who take orders only from their commanders and refuse to disarm.
Last week, one person was killed and several injured when militiamen protesting outside the prime minister’s office started shooting.
In the assembly, 80 of the 200 seats will go to political parties and the rest to independent candidates. More than 1.5 million Libyans have registered to vote so far, according to the national electoral commission. It estimates a total 3.4 million potential voters out of a population of 6 million people.
Reporting by Ali Shuaib
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