Tripoli : Libyans voted on Wednesday in a legislative election the authorities hope will end political turmoil and deadly violence that has gripped the country since the ouster of dictator Moamer Gadhafi, reports AFP.
Voters in Tripoli took advantage of a public holiday called for the election, trickling in to cast ballots in the capital, where security was tight around polling stations. In the past few weeks, Libya has been rocked by a crisis that saw two rival cabinets jostling for power amid a showdown between Islamists and liberals, as violence raged in the east, where a rogue general is battling jihadists.
A patchwork of militias, including Islamic extremists, who helped to overthrow Gadhafi in the NATO-backed uprising of 2011 have been blamed for violence that has continued unabated since the end of the revolt. “Every Libyan citizen is asking for comfort, safety and stability. Libyans want a well-built state like the rest of the developed world,” said Mohammed Akila, a Tripoli resident.
The heavily armed rebels who ousted and killed Gadhafi have carved out their own fiefdoms in the deeply tribal country, some even seizing oil terminals and crippling crude exports from a sector key to government revenues.
Almost 3.5 million Libyans are eligible to vote but only 1.5 million have registered, a far cry from the more than 2.7 million who registered two years ago. Voters are choosing from among 1,628 candidates, with 32 seats in the 200-strong GNC reserved for women and would-be MPs banned from belonging to any political party.
There are hopes a new General National Congress, or parliament, will work to resolve the power struggle between liberals and Islamists that has stymied efforts to reform Libya and brought it to its knees.