Arson suspected in Libyan poll office fire


The main storage centre for election materials in the eastern Libyan town of Ajdabiya caught fire in a suspected arson attack two days before a July 7 parliamentary election, eyewitnesses and a security source said.

The security source said the fire at the storage centre, which contained ballots and other election equipment, was being investigated as suspected arson.

The storage centre is located on the outskirts of Ajdabiya while the main election commission headquarters in the centre of town was not affected, according to witnesses, Reuters reports.

Protesters demanding greater powers for Libya’s eastern region last weekend stormed an election commission office in the main eastern city of Benghazi, 160 km (100 miles) further east.

Last year’s ousting of Muammar Gaddafi in a NATO-backed uprising has brought into the open the regional tensions suppressed in Libya under his 42-year rule.

Many easterners complain of being neglected by the interim leadership in the capital Tripoli and say their region – the location of the bulk of Libya’s oil industry – should have greater autonomy and access to financial resources.

Libyans head to the polls on July 7 to elect a 200-strong national assembly that will appoint a prime minister, make laws, and help draft a new constitution for the country.