Libya’s interim government will deploy more than 13,000 troops along with aircraft and naval vessels to ensure security during the the country’s first free national elections since the removal of Muammar Qaddafi.
Officials have set up an operations room to coordinate the troops, interior ministry forces, plus naval and air elements ahead of the July 7 vote, the state-run Libya News Agency reported, citing Youssif El-Mangoush, the army chief-of-staff.
The election will create an assembly to replace the interim leadership known as the National Transitional Council. The new legislature will name a new prime minister and appoint a committee to draft the country’s constitution.
El-Mangoush said the military will conduct air surveillance of the country’s borders. The authorities are on high alert for any disturbances, Omar El-Khadrawi, the deputy interior minister, said in comments aired on Libyan state television.
Qaddafi, who ruled the north African country for 42 years, was ousted and killed in 2011 at the end of a bloody, eight- month uprising. While the oil-rich restored crude production to 1.45 million barrels a day in May, it’s struggling with a security void that has frustrated efforts to lure foreign investors.
The country, which sits atop Africa’s largest proven crude reserves, relies almost entirely on oil exports for its revenue. Its ability to rebuild has been stymied by the central government’s failure to rein in the armed militias that played a key role in ousted Qaddafi.
The head of the state-run National Oil Corp. called on the company’s employees to cast their vote as a step toward building a “modern Libya founded on law and institutions,” according to a statement posted on the NOC’s website. Nuri Berruien said workers should go to the nearest polling station without causing disruptions to operations or production.
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