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Libya puts off action on constitution

TRIPOLI, Libya — Libya’s interim Parliament voted Monday to extend the country’s post-revolutionary transition, giving itself an extra year to oversee the writing of a constitution and the holding of new elections, members said.

Islamist lawmaker Mohammed Sammoud said 102 members out of 120 who attended the session voted in favor of the new transition plan, setting a deadline for drafting the country’s constitution to August. That will be followed by elections, with a new Parliament to be handed power by Dec. 24, 2014.

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According to the old timetable, the interim Parliament should have elected a constituent panel, drafted the constitution, held a referendum on it, and called for parliamentary elections before February.

The decision is expected to spark anger. Demonstrators have denounced what they see as poor performance of its government.

Libya is undergoing a rocky transition after the downfall of longtime dictator Moammar Khadafy. The country has no effective court system and a weakened army and police. Former rebels who fought Khadafy’s forces have quickly filled up the security vacuum, becoming powerful militias that exert pressure on the government.

Since its election last year, the interim Parliament has been split into Islamist and non-Islamist blocs.

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