TRIPOLI — Prime Minister Abdelrahim al-Kib predicted a bright future for foreign investment in Libya especially in the oil sector whose infrastructure needs to be overhauled, in an interview with AFP.
Libya’s first free election in six decades is an important step to get the country’s economy moving again, attract investment and unleash the true potential of the country’s oil wealth.
So last Saturday’s election of a 200-strong national assembly was a key moment. The assembly will appoint a prime minister and a cabinet that will govern until parliamentary elections are held in 2013, based on a new constitution.
The process is likely to be bumpy, given the competing tribal and regional interests in the country, and the very immediate challenge of disbanding militias and integrating former rebel fighters into the army and police.
But the incoming government will certainly want to give the economy a quick shot in the arm by resuscitating state-funded projects.
Libya’s GDP was growing at an average rate of five per cent since United Nations sanctions were lifted in 2003, but economic activity ground to a near halt during the conflict. The IMF on Tuesday reported that Libya’s GDP should grow by 116.6 per cent in 2012, after a 60 per cent contraction in 2011.
Non-oil economic output dropped by half last year, adding to an already engrained unemployment problem – Libya’s youth unemployment rate stood at 35 per cent in 2010.
Even a little investment in infrastructure could go a long way to improving living conditions, and creating jobs. For example, Tripoli really needs to be completely replanned – its roads are riven by potholes, and the capital lacks a proper bus system. On a larger scale, the country’s power system requires an overhaul, and investment in tourism infrastructure could create a lucrative new industry in the medium term.
State spending can have a very positive multiplier effect on the wider economy, but the government will need to ensure it does not overdo it. Salary increases implemented in the final days of the Gadhafi regime will raise the civil service wage bill to 19 per cent of GDP this year, from 9 per cent in 2010, the IMF estimates. Weaker global oil prices, and the rising cost of food subsidies are also adding fiscal pressures.
Private sector development is therefore vital, especially if Libya is to diversify away from oil, which accounts for about 70 per cent of GDP, and 95 per cent of exports. This will depend on Libya’s ability to develop and keep its skilled workforce and increased availability of private capital.
Positive signs are already emerging, with some evidence of a reverse brain drain, as Libyan expatriates return, partly because of a sense of opportunity and partly due to diminished opportunity in Europe.
A new generation of middle managers in their early 40s also appears to be stepping up into key positions. However, many in the business community believe the new government should backtrack on the blacklisting of hundreds of people with links to the former regime, arguing the policy could hamstring the economy.
Banks – most of which are state-owned – may need capital injections before they begin to lend again. They are facing depreciation in asset quality and an increase in bad loans as a result of last year’s economic disruption. So for now, lenders are happy to park deposits with the central bank, in return for 3.5 per cent rather than look for new business.
The country’s stock market, worth over $2bn in market capitalisation, has only 12 listed companies now, but could play an important role in funding growth. Three initial public offerings are already in the pipeline, including the country’s main petrol station operator, and listings in coming years will include state-owned banks and possibly Libya’s airline. Development of the stock market will also be helped by planned legislation to introduce mutual funds to the country.
Meanwhile, foreign investors are starting to be drawn by Libya’s undoubted potential.
Qatar National Bank recently showed confidence by announcing that it plans to take a 49 per cent stake in Libya Bank of Commerce and Development. And an indicator of possible future commitment was this year’s “Libya Build” infrastructure and construction conference held in Tripoli in May, which attracted over 400 foreign companies.
Whether this interest turns into real capital flows will depend on the quality of governance that emerges after these elections, better coordination among state institutions, and a strong commitment to the rule of law.
Sherif Salem is portfolio manager for the Invest AD Libya Opportunity Fund [source: Financial Times]
Libya's liberals says they are against the injection of religion into political battles, as Islamists suffered a major defeat on their eastern hometurf with preliminary results giving a net advantage to a liberal coalition
"Our programme is a civil, democratic state based on institutions," he said.
"Talking about religion is avoiding the discussion of programmes. This is not the moment to talk about Muslims, apostates or secularists. We need to re-establish security and draft a constitution.
"Keeping in mind that this country is 100 percent muslim, Islam will be the main reference in the drafting of the constitution," he said, stressing that all political forces are in agreement on that point.
The NFA, however, is against consulting the mufti -- the country's highest religious Muslim authority -- when it comes to taking political decisions and drafting legislation, he said.
"At the NFA we do not believe in the ayatollahs, religious guides, or sacred legislators," he said.
Playing the "Islamist" card, he added, backfired for rival parties, including the Justice and Construction Party which was launched by Libya's Muslim Brotherhood, at the polls.
"It wasn't a smart move. Moreover, the people saw through it and gave their verdict through the ballot box," Krekshi said.
Libyans on Saturday voted for a General National Congress, a legislative assembly where 80 seats are reserved for party lists and 120 others are open to independents, in the first elections since the fall of Moamer Kadhafi's regime.
Preliminary figures, which are still being rolled out district by district, give a net advantage to the NFA, a broad coalition of parties rallying behind wartime premier Mahmud Jibril, over Islamist contenders.
"We expect to get 55 out of 80 party seats (70 percent)," said Krekshi.
"In terms of the individuals or independents, there are 40 or 45 who believe in the programme of the coalition. Until now, although we are still counting, the NFA has 95 to 100, or 50 percent of seats, in the next congress."
That number can grow through new alliances with individual candidates who share the coalition's drive to rebuild Libya, Krekshi continued.
Both Islamists and liberals are courting independents, who hold the majority of seats, in the hope of securing a clear majority.
"No doubt, we are in contact with independent candidates whose ideas correspond with those of the NFA," said Krekshi, listing security, stimulating the economy and reactivating the judiciary as top priorities.
The alliance, he said, is a non-ideological movement which is open to a broad spectrum of parties, where the only condition of adhesion is patriotism and a commitment to rebuild the country on the basis of knowledge and experience.
On security, Krekshi faulted the outgoing National Transitional Council for dealing with former rebels as part of the problem rather than the solution, stressing that reintegration and rehabilitation were essential to disarmament.
He also criticised the NTC for its last-minute amendment of its own constitutional declaration, which called for new national vote to elect a constituent authority, which was initially to be appointed by the congress.
Krekshi stressed that this decision, like other controversial legislation reflecting errors of judgement by the NTC, could be overturned by the next interim government.
"Thank God the people have voted and these problems will be over," he said. [source: AFP - Ahram Online]
Libyan economic activity is expected to recover dramatically this year to reach 116.6 percent growth following the revolution that disrupted the Libyan economy and deposed long-time dictator, Muammar Gaddafi. The predicted growth reflects post-war reconstruction efforts and the return of oil production levels to those last recorded before the fall of the Gaddafi regime, said the International Monetary Fund on Tuesday.
Libya's war time prime minister Mahmoud Jibril has a strong lead in early results from the country's first elections since the fall of Muamar Gaddafi. Jibril heads the National Forces Alliance and is considered by many Libyans as the right person to lead post-war rebuilding. Al Jazeera's Stefanie Dekker reports from Tripoli.
Clyde & Co is set to become the first international firm to open a base in post-Gaddafi Libya after it hired Libyan Investment Authority (LIA) general counsel Albudery Shariha.
Clydes partner and board member Ben Knowles said the Libyan market represented “huge opportunities” for Clydes as the country unwinds the investments made by the LIA under the Muammar Gaddafi regime and interantional companies move into the region.
“Potentially Libya’s a very wealthy country,” Knowles said. “From an energy perspective it’s huge, it has the world’s eigth largest oil reserves; from a litigation perspective there’s also a lot going on.”
Clydes has long had an eye on the Libyan market, with former partner Paul Turner, who handled defamation issues for Gaddafi, telling The Lawyer in 2009 that the country offered lucrative business opportunities (7 September 2009).
Turner quit the firm a year later for Middle East rival Al Tamimi & Co, but his departure did not halt Clydes’ ambitions. In January the firm appointed Trowers & Hamlins partner Adrian Creed, who had played a key role in building that firm’s Libya group (11 January 2012).
According to Knowles Creed had an existing working relationship with Shariha, who was looking to join an international firm rather than a domestic outfit, and the approach was made.
Creed said: “Albudery is one of the foremost lawyers in Libya and we’re delighted that he’s driving forward this initiative. His expertise will be invaluable. We expect to undertake a mix of contentious and non-contentious work for Libyan government entities and international clients.”
The LIA was established in 2006 by Gaddafi’s son Seif al-Islam with the aim of investing in international projects. Those assets were frozen in the aftermath of the collapse of the regime and, said Knowles, the LIA has since been busy recovering sovereign funds.
Clydes’ Tripoli office will launch on 1 August when Shariha will join the firm with four associates. Creed is planning to split his time between the base and the firm’s Abu Dhabi office. The firm is also set to recruit both domestic and international associates and partners to meet the anticipated demand.
Clydes is no stranger to far-flung regions. In the last year it has established a best-friends relationship with Zimbabwe-base firm Scanlen and Holderness (24 November 2011) and entered Mongolia via an association with local firm Khan Lex Advocates (12 March 2012).
The firm is planning on expanding its China network and is considering a Beijing base, while also looking at how best to expand its US network.
Last week, the firm reported a 36 per cent rise in revenues to £287m (5 July 2012). According to the firm the revenue hike, which brings the firm’s total turnover to £287m, represents a like-for-like rise on Clydes’ 2010-11 turnover of £212m but also includes revenues generated by Barlow Lyde & Gilbert, which Clydes acquired in November 2011 (8 August 2011).
(Reuters) - Libya's economy is likely to rebound sharply this year from a deep contraction in 2011 as the country rebuilds from civil war and oil production recovers to levels last seen during Muammar Gaddafi's rule, the International Monetary Fund said on Tuesday.
Growth next year is likely to slow to 16.5 percent and 13.2 percent in 2014 as the effects of the war on the economy wane, the IMF added.
Such impressive rebounds in growth are not unusual in countries emerging from conflict when the economy is boosted by rebuilding projects and pent-up private demand.
The IMF statement on Libya comes as the country awaits the outcome of a historic vote on Saturday to elect a national assembly.
While Libya's government can afford the current high rates of spending in the short term, the IMF estimated that it is not sustainable over the longer term and will push the budget into deficit from 2015.
"A more thorough analysis of sustainability based on the present value of financial assets and future oil extraction indicates that from 2012, public spending will exceed the sustainable, long-term level by over 10 percent of GDP," the fund added.
The IMF also warned that continued political uncertainty, insecurity and the possibility of a drop in global oil prices were all risks to Libya's economic outlook.
Last week around half of Libya's oil exporting capacity was shut down and production cut by about 300,000 barrels per day (bpd) from about 1.3 million bpd after protests by groups demanding autonomy for eastern Libya, the source of most of the country's oil.
The oil price at which Libya's budget is balanced is about$91 per barrel in 2012, an increase from $58 a barrel in 2010, and is set to exceed $100 a barrel from 2013, the IMF said.
Brent crude prices traded at about $97 a barrel on Tuesday.
A deeper crisis in the euro zone and sharper slowdown in the world economy could push global oil prices lower, which would be pose challenges for Libya's oil dependent economy, the IMF said.
As Libya's imports return to normal, consumer price inflation should be contained at 10 percent despite pressure on prices from supply bottlenecks in housing and transportation, it said.
The fund added, however, that a drop in the country's high level of unemployment is not likely without reforms.
(Reporting by Lesley Wroughton; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama, Gary Crosse)
Several Libyan delegations have been visiting different capitals in order to fulfil requests to discuss investment opportunities in post-revolution Libya
The leading Russian railway company Zarubezh Stroi Tekhnologia (ZST) has declared plans to undertake over $3 billion worth of projects in Libya and Gulf countries.
Mr. Yuri told Prime news agency that his company managed to finish 30 Kilometres of the railway line before the uprisings that broke out in Libya in February 2011 and he is willing to resume the 2008 agreement by expanding the line to 554 Kilometres. He added that he is heading to Abu Dhabi in the next few days to attend a meeting being held for those who are interested in sharing in the UAE tender to establish railway lines in UAE as well.
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(Reuters) - For Tripoli businessman Salem Mohammed, Libya's first elections in a generation on Saturday will pave the way for what he believes the North African country should become - a new Dubai.
"We just need foreign investors and hopefully they will now start coming and business will boom."
Nine months after the end of Libya's uprising, Mohammed hopes Saturday's election of a national assembly will mark a new start for an economy that stagnated under Muammar Gaddafi's 42-year autocratic rule.
Investors will be closely watching the outcome of the vote - with no indication of a leading contender - to see what it will mean for projects that were frozen during the fighting and for the vast opportunities likely to emerge in an oil-producing nation with the wealth to pay for construction and healthcare.
Libya's new rulers have said no major new concessions would be awarded until after the polls and are reviewing past deals.
Once elected, the new 200-member assembly will appoint a government to replace an interim administration that lacked the mandate to make major decisions, and expectations are for old projects to restart and for new contracts to be signed.
"There are a lot of projects (on standby), everyone wants to settle their projects from before," said Klaus Fodinger, head of the cement division at Austria's Asamer Holding, which resumed operations in Libya in October.
"If there are no institutions, no one to talk to, how do you settle deals from the past? The elections are a crucial event."
Many international businesses came to Libya in recent years, attracted by its huge energy reserves and a population, which although numbering just 6 million, has median incomes much higher than elsewhere in the region.
But the eight-month NATO-backed uprising sent foreigners fleeing.
While oil companies were the first to return and have helped Libya climb back close to pre-war output levels of 1.6 million barrels per day, others have not been as fast.
Government trade delegations from around the world have visited, vying for future contracts. As commercial flights have resumed, businessmen have also jetted in for short stretches. Most companies which had a foot in Libya before have mainly wanted to get their ventures back up and running as they await a clearer political and legal landscape.
Tarek Alwan, managing director of London-based consulting firm SOC Libya, said he had been approached by numerous companies seeking guidance on how to enter the Libyan market.
"Major ones are seriously interested but they have not committed yet because the situation is not fully stable, economically and politically," he said.
"They have been waiting for the elections so this will give them some sort of assurances that there will be proper elected (authority) to represent the country."
WAITING FOR THE GREEN LIGHT
Major construction, such as residential property and hotels, as well as transport projects are untouched since last year, awaiting the green light from the authorities to restart.
"Despite the fact that most major public-sector projects are on hold, there is nonetheless a great deal of planning going on across many ministries and government agencies, and this is a positive sign," said Alex Warren, of research and advisory firm Frontier, which runs The Libya Report business site.
"It suggests that once an elected government is in place, then many projects look set to start or be resumed."
The question is how quickly they will resume. The fasting month of Ramadan, when daily life usually slows, begins shortly after the elections.
The assembly is expected to be named at least two weeks from July 7 after ballot counting is finalised and an appeals process. Within 30 days of its first meeting, it will appoint a new prime minister who will form a government.
"For major projects and contracts, I don't see it really picking up, in terms of new tenders or companies returning, until the last quarter at the earliest," Warren said.
The election is expected to lead to reforms and investors want to know what those policies will be. In May, the economy ministry issued a decree enabling foreign companies to set up joint ventures, branches and representative offices in most sectors, more easily.
"Businesses are looking with great hopes towards the elections," David Bachmann, head of the commercial section at the Austrian embassy in Tripoli, said.
"However, they are aware that probabilities are high that even after the elections it might take some months - hopefully not years - before decisions are taken."
While public sector entities await, the private sector is flourishing, especially trade. Tripoli's port is heaving with activity and foreign produce is stocked on supermarket shelves. A cash crisis has eased and shops and cafes have re-opened.
Monoprix Tunisia, an affiliate of the French supermarket chain, wants to start opening 10 stores in Libya from late 2012, after uprisings in both countries delayed earlier plans.
On the construction side, small-scale private projects have taken off - homes are being built, businesses being refurbished.
HUGE POTENTIAL; SECURITY RISKS
Austria's Asamer, which operates cement factories in Libya through a joint venture, has gradually increased production since January.
"We see a huge potential - there are the needs of young population and a lot of infrastructure to be reconstructed. We expect a boom in construction activity," Fodinger said.
Gaddafi isolated Libya's economy from much foreign competition, reserving licences and contracts for his own circle, so the prospect of a more open market is attractive to new entrants.
Dependent on oil, Libya needs basic infrastructure development as well as investment in property, consumer industries and telecoms after a fifth of transmitter stations were destroyed in the war. It will also need foreign investment and expertise to increase oil and gas production.
Its tourism industry is largely unexplored, despite stretches of beaches and well-preserved Roman ruins.
Various fairs drawing international businesses have allowed companies to cultivate relations. Industry Minister Mahmoud Al-Ftise said there were plans to increase privatisations, and Libya was interested in more foreign investment.
"We would like to have a participation from foreign and local private business so we can see results because we would like to have competition among the business," he told Reuters.
However security remains a concern. Bouts of violence are deterring foreign firms from bringing back all their expatriates on the ground for now. For those who were once used to living in villas or flats in Tripoli, they now find themselves confined in secure compounds without their families.
Many businessmen travel with security advisers.
Libya's interim government has struggled to impose its authority on a country awash with weapons. Attacks on diplomatic and aid missions in the east have highlighted the ongoing volatility.
Last month, Tripoli's international airport was seized by an armed group for several hours.
"Security is a concern and when you hear of such violent incidents as we have recently, you worry and it may deter some foreigners from coming here," one European businessman said during a recent trip to Tripoli.
"But you have to weigh the risks against the opportunities."
The CEO of Libya’s leading construction company has been telling Dubai business leaders that the country offers huge business and investment opportunities stemming from the need to rebuild in the wake of the 2011 revolution.
Libya's liberal party has claimed an early lead in this week's parliamentary elections
(Reuters) - Three major oil exporting terminals in eastern Libya shut down by political protests have restarted, and production blocked by the move has resumed, the chairman of Libya's National Oil Corporation (NOC) said on Sunday.
The election, the first in a generation in the North African country, went ahead despite violent protests on the day.
The stoppages at El-Sider, Ras Lanuf and Brega shut half of Libya's oil exporting capacity. Production of close to 1.6 million barrels a day (bpd) was also cut by 300,000 bpd as a result of blockages at the terminals.
"Everything is back to normal. Ships are loading and, from last night, some fields have restarted production," NOC Chairman Nuri Berruien told Reuters by telephone. "Hopefully within 24 hours everything will be back to normal levels."
The 48-hour shutdown prevented oil tankers that were ready to sail from leaving ports on Friday, prompting local agents to warn oil companies that vessels scheduled to load crude over the weekend might have to drop anchor until terminals were reopened.
"This problem is over ... All of the fields that are feeding the terminals are on, some of them from last night, some of them today," Berruien said. Ships had entered the loading area at El-Sider and were ready to start loading, he added.
Libya's east, source of most of the country's oil, was starved of cash during Gaddafi's 42-year rule, and calls for federal rule have been fuelled by long-standing complaints it has been deprived of its fair share of wealth.
A self-proclaimed autonomous council for the oil-rich province called on people in the region to boycott the election, saying it would not give adequate representation to the east.
The anti-election group includes some tribes and disgruntled former rebel forces, analysts have said.
Libya has Africa's largest proven oil reserves. The three ports that closed have a combined export capacity of around 690,000 bpd.
Production has recovered swiftly after grinding to a near halt during last year's uprising against ousted leader Muammar Gaddafi. Exports have exceeded pre-war rates because Libya's largest refinery is still offline, freeing up oil for export.
(Additional reporting by Ali Shuaib in Tripoli Jessica Donati in London; Writing by Mark John; Editing by David Hulmes)
Parliamentary elections Libya will hold its first free parliamentary elections since the overthrow of the regime of Muammar Gaddafi on 7 July. The Islamist bloc is expected to perform well in the polls, although the majority of seats have been reserved for independent candidates, meaning the future parliament is unlikely to be dominated by a single party or movement. AKE personnel on the ground have highlighted reports that some...
Benghazi Armed protestors calling for more autonomy for the east of the country stormed the local headquarters of the national election commission in Benghazi on 1 July, burning materials and breaking computer equipment. Around 300 men were reported to have carried computers and ballot boxes from the building before crushing them outside and chanting pro-federalism slogans. The protest was reportedly in response to the refusal of the national government to grant the eastern portion of the country an equal number of seats in the new parliament.
There is a risk of further demonstrations and violence of this nature, particularly around election time on 7 July.
Meanwhile, on 30 June, the national army barracks in Benghazi were attacked by unidentified assailants using a rocket propelled grenade (RPG). No casualties were reported, although the blast caused damage to the back wall of the facility. It is as yet unknown who carried out the attack, which is the latest in a recent surge of militant attacks in the city. The majority of recent attacks have been blamed on Jihadist elements believed to be operating in the east of the country, and based in the vicinity of the town of Derna.
There is an increased risk of attacks around election time, with polling stations a possible target, as well as government buildings and foreign assets and personnel.
Tebu threaten election boycott Leaders of the Tebu tribe in the south of Libya have threatened to call for a boycott of the upcoming elections on 7 July if officials do not withdraw troops from their locations in the south. The government deployed troops to the south of the country in recent months after prolonged tribal fighting in the area.
ICC Staff released Four officials from the International Criminal Court (ICC) were released by militia from the town of Zintan after being held since early June on suspicion of spying. Australian lawyer Melinda Taylor and Lebanese-born interpreter Helene Assaf were accused of smuggling documents to Saif al-Islam Gaddafi and were only released after an apology by the ICC for the incident. Their two male colleagues who were not detained stayed with them throughout the ordeal.
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(Reuters) - Libyans will vote in their first free national poll in more than half a century on Saturday amid fears that violence could taint an election meant to usher in a temporary national assembly and draw a line under Muammar Gaddafi's 42-year autocratic reign.
The chamber was also due to appoint a committee charged with drafting a new constitution. But Libya's transitional rulers announced on Thursday this body would also be elected directly by Libyans - a move one analyst said was a bid to appease federalists that have urged a boycott of Saturday's vote.
The election will be closely watched around the world by both supporters and critics of NATO's bombing campaign that helped underpin an "Arab Spring" uprising that ended Gaddafi's dictatorship and finally claimed his life.
Yet for many of the 2.7 million registered voters, excitement about a first taste of democracy is mingled with fear that it will be hijacked by the militias, often with regional loyalties, who have flourished amid prevailing lawlessness.
"This is a new beginning for us, we are learning democracy," said Tarek Mabrouk, a shopkeeper in Tripoli. "We all hope that it will go well so we can move forward."
Once the new constitution is drafted, a referendum will be held and, if it establishes a parliamentary system, a full legislative poll will be held within six months.
While the election is designed to produce a government with a stronger mandate to rule than the current ex-rebel National Transitional Council (NTC), the credibility of the result will be questionable if voters are too scared to turn out or if post-vote disputes degenerate into gun battles among rival factions.
In some areas, such as the isolated southern district of Kufra in the Saharan desert, tribal clashes are so fierce that election observers will be unable to visit, and some question whether the vote can proceed in certain areas there.
Less than a year after rebel fighters overran the capital Tripoli with little resistance, Libya is a country enjoying freedoms that would have been unimaginable during the four decades before the uprising, but which are mitigated by instability and sporadic violence.
While Tripoli can go for days without disturbances, turf wars between heavily armed rival militias can explode into gunfights within seconds, while regional tensions that were suppressed under Gaddafi are now dangerously exposed.
Last week's storming of an election office in the eastern city of Benghazi by protesters demanding greater powers for the region showed how far Libya has to go to foster national unity and underscored the real risk of unrest on voting day.
Supporters for greater autonomy in the east are unhappy that, under the original rules, their region would have only been allotted 20 seats in the 60-head constitution-drafting committee that was to have been selected by the new national assembly.
Claudia Gazzini, of the International Crisis Group, said the NTC's announcement at a news conference on Thursday that the committee would now be chosen by yet another direct vote was aimed at them.
"It can be understood as a last-minute attempt by the NTC to appease those threatening to disrupt the elections," she said. "It also shows that the government has doubts that it will be able to secure the elections."
The weakness of the police and the army was demonstrated only last month when militia fighters occupied the runway at Tripoli's international airport for hours after they mistakenly feared their leader had been seized by security forces.
Yet while such incidents will do little to encourage potential investors in a country with Africa's largest proven oil reserves, many observers argue that Libya has bounced back from the conflict more quickly than expected.
Oil production has recovered and is now close to pre-war output levels of 1.6 million barrels per day. The country has also avoided the sectarian violence which sees dozens of Iraqis killed each week almost a decade after the U.S.-led campaign to oust Saddam Hussein got under way.
"The basic elements of life are continuing in Libya," U.N. envoy Ian Martin told Reuters in June. "When you put it in the context of Libya and in the context of other post-conflict countries, the glass is half full rather than half empty."
However, many Libyans remain baffled by the mechanics of Libya's first national multi-party poll since a 1952 vote held under King Idris, the post-independence monarch deposed by Gaddafi and a group of young army officers 17 years later.
The 200 seats in the new General National Congress will be allotted according to a mixed system, with candidates on party lists elected by proportional representation and independent candidates chosen by a simple majority.
Parity rules for the new assembly mean there are many female candidates. Yet many of their posters were defaced before the end of campaigning on Thursday, underlining the ambivalence of some in Libyan society about a greater female role in politics.
Elections after Arab Spring uprisings that ousted dictators in Tunisia and Egypt have ushered in parliaments dominated by long-suppressed Islamist groups.
While analysts say it is hard to predict the political make-up of Libya's new assembly, parties and candidates professing an attachment to Islamic values dominate and very few are running on an exclusively secular ticket.
The Justice and Construction offshoot of Libya's Muslim Brotherhood is tipped to do well, as is al-Watan, the party of former CIA detainee and Islamist insurgent Abdel Hakim Belhadj.
(Additional reporting by Mark John and Ali Shuaib; Writing by Mark John; Editing by Alison Williams)
The official spokesman of the Libyan National Transitional Council (NTC) Nasser al-Maneh has declared that Libya has opened eight airports so far.
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The amount of non-oil commercial exchanges between Libya and UAE for the first ten months in 2011 months has reached 2.13 billion dirhams.
The president of commercial services at the Dubai Chamber of Commerce Attiq Juma declared that the high record of commercial exchange came despite the state of instability that Libya experienced due to the uprisings and violence that broke out in February 2011. Mr. Juma stated that UAE aims to play a vital economic role in the long run to restore and rebuild the modern Libyan state through exchanging experiences and contributing to the development of Libya’s promising economic situation, as reported by al-Bayan Emirati news agency.
Mr. Juma stressed that the growth of Libyan-UAE commercial exchanges has been increasing in the last five decades.It grew from 2.8 billion dirhams in 2005 to 3.5 billion dirhams in 2010, achieving 25% growth. He also stated that one third of the Libyan imports from Dubai is electric machinery while 70% includes equipment, cars and electrical products.
Juma added that the Libyan requests for more imports from Dubai have increased and especially requests for cement and iron, which are urgently needed for the rebuilding of infrastructure process.
Mr. Juma has also declared that a delegation from the Dubai Chamber of Commerce is cooperating with different economic bodies and conferences to prepare for an official visit to Libya before the end of 2012 to help enhance the UAE’s investment activities in Libya.
On the first day of voting in the Libyan National Elections we visit the London Voting Centre for this historic event