First Published: 2012-02-20

 

First Libya polls in 40 years: Misrata votes to elect local council

 

Residents of battle-scarred town of Misrata are voting to elect 28 local council members from field of 242 candidates.

 

Middle East Online

Scene banned under Gathafi

MISRATA (Libya) - Residents of the battle-scarred town of Misrata voted on Monday to elect a local council, in Libya's first polls in more than 40 years, four months after the killing of Moamer Gathafi.

"This is an historic event. We hope these elections will be an example" for the rest of Libya, the president of the port city's electoral commission, Mohammed Balrouin, said.

He said it was "a dress rehearsal for the upcoming vote" to be held nationwide in June to elect a constituent assembly.

Misrata residents were electing 28 council members from a field of 242 candidates. Some 101,486 people were registered to cast their ballots, from 156,000 eligible voters, in a city with a population of 281,000, said Balrouin.

By midday, the election official put the turnout at between 30 and 60 percent. "Our goal was to have a turnout of more than 30 percent. I believe we're almost there," he said.

Monday was declared a public holiday in Misrata, both for the election and to commemorate the date, exactly a year ago, when the city rose up against the regime of Gathafi who banned elections as an "invention of the West."

The "city of martyrs" in Libya's revolution was besieged for several months by Gathafi's forces and suffered some of the fiercest fighting of the conflict.

"Today we are tasting freedom and democracy. Thank God, the blood of the martyrs was not spilt in vain," said Fama al-Shawesh, a 19-year-old student, waving blue ink on a finger to show she had voted.

At a polling station in the city centre, voters entered a private cubicle to select their candidate. After casting their ballot, they were made to dip a finger in indelible blue ink, in a bid to prevent people from voting twice.

The count was to begin after the end of voting at 8:00 pm (1800 GMT), with results to be announced on Tuesday.

 

US-led coalition warplanes hit IS near Syria's Al-Bab

Florida airport shooter ‘inspired’ by IS jiahdists

Iraq forces 'liberate' eastern Mosul

Palestinian home demolitions spark deadly violence

Syria war forces elderly to take shelter in retirement homes

France says Iraqi jihadist among 2015 stadium bombers

Russia, Turkey stage first joint air strikes against IS in Syria

IS advances on terrified citizens of Syria’s Deir Ezzor

In path to greater executive power, Erdogan faces weak Turkey economy

Switzerland drops war crimes case against former Algerian defence minister

Patience wears thin in Iraq's Fallujah

New UN chief stresses importance of Syria peace talks

Istanbul nightclub attacker 'received orders from IS'

Turkish border officials refuse entry to NYT reporter

Fatah, Hamas agree to form unity government

Snowden’s stay in Russia extended by two years

East Syria clashes continue between IS, regime forces

Syrian general, 8 soldiers killed in tunnel blast

Iran opposes US joining Syria talks

Turkey snubs UN hearing on detained Rwanda genocide judge

Rouhani calls for end to Saudi ‘interference’ across region

Saudi says China rise source of global stability not conflict

Lengthy drought leaves Somalia with serious famine risk

Gunman found in comfy Istanbul flat

Iran, Syria sign phone, petrol deals in Tehran

Jordan charges 8 with inciting opposition against regime

Iranian president rules out renegotiating nuclear deal

Turkey prosecutors demand up to 142 years in jail for Kurd leader

180 dead after boat capsizes in Mediterranean

Saudi carries out first death sentence of 2017

Libyan granted right to sue UK ex-minister for rendition

Syria regime, rebels name heads of delegation for Astana talks

Istanbul nightclub attacker captured

Syria troops, IS jihadists battle on in Deir Ezzor

Israel occupation forces rearrest Palestinian journalist

Russian FM says Syria peace talks to ‘consolidate’ ceasefire

Amnesty warns EU's anti-terror laws threaten human rights

Saudi health emergency after mass food poisoning

Darfur rebel groups rebuilding their forces in Libya, South Sudan

Saudi FM says Washington, Riyadh interests align

Morocco parliament elects new speaker

Hamas rejects ‘absurd’ Paris peace conference

Israeli army shoots dead Palestinian in West Bank clashes

Obama warns Trump against undoing Iran deal on anniversary

Turkish policeman who assassinated Russian ambassador buried in unmarked grave