Libya votes in first post-Gaddafi polls

Sunday, July 08, 2012
Tripoli:  Libyan voters cast ballots on Saturday for the country's first multi-party election in 60 years after the ouster of dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

It was an emotional moment for people who have lived through 42 years of dictatorship and a bloody revolution. But voting was disrupted by unrest in some areas, particularly the east.  

There are dozens of Islamist and relatively secular parties, and hundreds of independent candidates. Islamists are expected to do well, but 23-year-old recent university graduate Farah Moterdy said she would not be voting for them, fearing they would try to restrict women's rights.  

Voting went surprisingly smoothly after extensive training of Libyan election workers and observers. The head of the Shahed Network for Election Observing, Abdelkarim Mohammed Hassan, gave up his own chance to vote near his home in the east to help with the election in Tripoli.

Nearly three million people registered to vote, about 80 per cent of those eligible. They are choosing among 1,400 candidates for 200 seats in a National Assembly that will form an interim government and write a new constitution. Voting was complicated, and the outcome will be decisive for Libya's future.

But on Saturday Libyans of all ages put their concerns aside and celebrated the simple but hard-fought triumph of their first post-revolution election day.
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