Federalists in Libya's eastern Cyrenaica region called on Thursday for a boycott of next month's constituent assembly elections, rejecting the transition plan set out by the interim authorities.
The Council of Cyrenaica, which wants autonomy for the oil-rich east, issued a statement calling on "all Libyans... to boycott elections" unless the ruling National Transitional Council changes its plans.
The NTC has pledged to hold elections for a 200-seat constituent assembly in June. The charter it draws up to replace that of slain dictator Moammar Gadhafi’s toppled regime will then be put to a referendum.
The law governing the June election distributes seats in the constituent assembly strictly according to population.
But the federalists want the authorities to split representation equally between Libya's three historic regions.
Libya was a federal union under the Western-backed rule of King Idris I from 1951 to 1963, which divided the country into three states -- Cyrenaica in the east, Tripolitania in the west and the Fezzan in the south.
Cyrenaica, which stretches all the way from the Mediterranean coast to the far-flung Sahara desert border with Chad in the south, embraces half of the country's territory and about three-quarters of its vast oil reserves.
The NTC is "incapable of guaranteeing stability and security which are necessary to hold transparent and credible elections," the federalists' statement said.
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