Libya on edge before first post-Gadhafi election

By Maggie Michael

Associated Press

Published: Friday, July 6 2012 6:51 a.m. MDT

Those four parties are seen as front-runners in a highly unpredictable race.

Libyan observers however say that voters are likely to cast ballots based on personalities they know, rather than ideology. In this conservative, almost entirely Muslim country, nearly all politicians accord Shariah a role in the constitution.

The NTC also decreed Thursday that the new constitution will definitely give a role to Islamic law, a move that appeared intended at preventing parties from turning the race to an Islamist-versus-secular contest.

Some 2.8 million voters, out of more than three million eligible, have registered for the polls. New parliamentary elections are to be held in 2013, after the constitution is drafted and approved in a referendum.

Observers expect that no party is likely to win an outright majority and the shape of the final government will likely depend on post-election alliances.

"We might see the Justice and Construction party striking alliance with Jibril's party, or we might see all Islamists forming one bloc in parliament," said Mohammed Bu-Sedr, a political prisoner during the Gadhafi era who now serves as adviser to the NTC's head and is running as an independent candidate in Benghazi.

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