Libya Holds 1st Free Election in 42 Years

World | July 7, 2012, Saturday // 13:08|  views

3.4 million Libyans are selecting a temporary assembly in the first free election in the country in the last 42 years. File photo by BGNES

Libyans are voting in their first free election after 42 years of dictatorship of Col Muammar Gaddafi, who was ousted and killed in 2011.

The 3.4 million people with voting rights are selecting a temporary assembly which will have the task of picking a cabinet and a prime minister.

Under the system devised by the outgoing National Transitional Council (NTC), which led the campaign against Gaddafi, the Assembly will have 200 seats, with 80 of them allocated to political parties and 120 to independent candidates.

According to data from the Electoral Commission, about 4 000 individuals will compete for Parliamentary seats.

The Gaddafi regime banned all political formations. Now there are countless political parties taking part in the election, but the biggest to emerge so far is the Justice and Construction Party, made up mostly of Muslim Brotherhood members.

BBC reports that the vote has been overshadowed by violence and deep regional divisions. An electoral worker has died on the eve of the vote when gunmen attacked a helicopter near Benghazi, and a polling station in Benghazi has been stormed by pro-autonomy activists, who seized electoral papers and ballot boxes. Ballot papers have also been burned at a key election office in Ajdabiya.

Some former rebels have been threatening to derail the vote by targeting the oil industry, large parts of which are located in the east. They have shut down as many as five oil terminals, including those at Brega, Ras Lanouf and Sidra, and a significant part of Libya's oil exporting capacity has been disrupted.

The polls close at 8 pm Bulgarian time. Estimates will not be announced until Monday, even Tuesday.

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Tags: Libya, free, elections, National Transitional Council, NTC, temporary assembly, Muammar Gaddafi, violence, Justice and Construction Party, Muslim Brotherhood


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