Libyans Vote In First Free Election In 60 Years
According to Reuters:
“Libyans, most voting for the first time after four decades of Gaddafi rule, are choosing a 200-member assembly which will elect a prime minister and a cabinet before preparing full parliamentary elections next year under a new constitution.”
Libyans have a choice of over 3,700 candidates, many of whom are Islamists.
John McCain, while in Tripoli, stated, "I think the best thing for Libya is not to have Muammar Gaddafi massacring his own people…So far, all indications are that this election was free and fair.”
However, the elections did not occur without incident. Reuters reports:
“in the eastern city of Benghazi, cradle of last year's uprising but where many now want more autonomy from the interim government in Tripoli, protesters stormed a handful of polling stations and publicly burned hundreds of ballot papers.”
But in the majority of the country, voting was a success. According to Al Jazeera, “Hoda Abdel Hamid, reporting from Benghazi, said that on the whole ‘people are satisfied with how the elections have been going so far.’”
Al Jazeera reports:
“Voting ended officially at 8pm (1800:GMT), but delays in starting has caused polling to continue in some other areas of the country.
“While polling stations are closed in Tripoli, they are to remain open for at an additional hour in Benghazi.
“In Ajdabiya and other places further from the capital, where voting did not start until the afternoon, voting will go on as late as 7am on Sunday. Voting in Brega has still not yet started.”
The Christian Science Monitor reports that “election officials described turnout as high among the roughly 80 percent of eligible voters who registered ahead of today’s election – a dramatic leap into participatory democracy after Mr. Qaddafi’s top-down rule.”
According to the BBC, “many voters carried the black, red and green flag of the Libyan revolution as they went to the polls.”
The final election results are expected later this month.
Read more of Neon Tommy's coverage of Libya here.