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Libya committee votes in favor of constitutional draft

Members of the self-styled Libyan National Army, loyal to the country's east strongman Khalifa Haftar, flash the victory gesture next to a vehicle-mounted heavy gun in the eastern city of Benghazi on July 27, 2017. Libya’s internationally recognized parliament is based in Benghazi and allied with Haftar's forces. (AFP / Abdullah Doma)
BENGHAZI, Libya: A committee tasked with writing a constitution for Libya voted in favor of a draft, paving the way for parliament to approve a referendum and causing uproar among opponents.
Critics, including secessionists and people in favor of the country’s 1951 constitution, called for a redo of Saturday’s vote.
Protesters broke into the committee’s building in the eastern town of Bayda, according to two committee members, who said they called on the committee to reconvene Sunday. It was not immediately clear whether the committee met again.
Committee members opposing the decision issued a signed statement saying that voters failed to consider amendments proposed by opponents to articles in the draft.
Amraja Noah, a committee member from the eastern city of Tobruk, said protesters stormed the building to stop the session, forcing the members to rush the vote.
He said 44 members attended the session and 42 voted in favor of passing the draft.
An opponent of the decision, Abdelkader Kadura, a committee member from Benghazi, expressed skepticism about the legitimacy of the voting.
“This serves a small minority and a certain geographical area,” he said, referring to members who voted in favor.
The 60-member committee has been assigned to work on a draft constitution since 2014.
Libya descended into chaos following the 2011 civil war that toppled and killed dictator Muammar Qaddafi. The oil-rich nation is now split between rival governments and militias.
Libya’s internationally-recognized parliament is based in the east and allied with the powerful military commander Khalifa Haftar.

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