Libya's first free elections, scheduled to take place on June 19, are to be delayed according to Mustafa Abdel Jalil, head of Libya's National Transitional Council (NTC).
Jalil told Reuters that the election will be delayed to allow candidates to appeal if they have been disallowed due to the vetting process. He said "All depends on the appeal process for the election candidates. This appeal process will result in a postponement of the elections."
According to the Tripoli Post 4,013 candidates have registered for the elections, of which 2,639 are independent. The Central administration High National Elections Commission (HNEC) gave citizens 48 hours to challenge the name of any election candidates once the lists were made public.
Jalil's remarks stand in contradiction to those of Libyan Prime Minister Abdurrahim el- Keib who said "Work is continuing in order to complete the final preparations so that the elections will be held on time." ElKeib also said at this time 2.5 millon Libyans have registered to vote in the elections.
In the run up to elections the NTC passed a ruling banning "political groups based on religion, tribe or ethnicity" standing for election, which was subsequently challenged by Libyan Islamists and dropped in early May. With the door now open for Islamic parties to stand for office they are expected to do well in the elections.
Digital Journal reported that Abdel Hakim Belhaj, rebel fighter and founder member of outlawed terrorist group Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, who was appointed Military Commander of Tripoli in the last days of the Gaddafi regime, stood down from his position to establish his own Salafist party, Hizb al-Watan on May 15.