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.

 

Obama to meet with generals planning IS assault

Erdogan: Turkey would welcome exiled Brotherhood leaders

UN brokers Israeli-Palestinian deal on Gaza reconstruction

World Bank calls for sweeping reforms in Tunisia

Scottish independence campaigners find support in Palestinian bagpipers

Davutoglu denounces ruling against Turkey’s religion courses

South Sudan to revoke expulsion of foreign workers

Algeria to tighten grip on imam training

Libya Islamists unleash another offensive on Benghazi airport

Iraqi bishop: Operations against IS in Iraq came very late

French parliament approves new anti-terror bill

Iraq parliament votes down PM's security nominees

Qaeda branches urge jihadists to unite against US

Despite war, South Sudan replaces foreign workers with locals

IS jihadists shoot down Syria warplane

Renegade former general claims air raid on Libya militia position

Six Egypt policemen in Sinai bomb attack

US warplanes carry out first strikes on IS near Baghdad

UEFA urged not to award 2020 European Championship to Israel

Israel sees future war with Hezbollah

Germany tries first 'Islamic State jihadist'

Egypt court bails top 2011 revolt activist

Iran rejected US request to cooperate against IS

Iran ridicules anti-jihadist international conference

Egypt textile factory collapse kills six

Mali separatists agree to speak with one voice

Qatar starts to curb Brotherhood’s activities

Coalition meets in Paris to plan fight against IS

Around 930 French citizens or residents involved 'in jihad' in Iraq, Syria

Yemen rebels, officials to meet with UN to end standoff

Qatar-based Egypt's Brotherhood leaders to relocate

Cameron chairs emergency meeting over British hostage beheading

Hollande defends arming Kurds against IS

43 Israeli soldiers condemn 'abuses' of Palestinians

Egypt urged to free more than 20 demonstrators

Turkey’s internet censored further

Tunisia Islamists clash with police in protest

10 Arab states agree to 'share' US-led fight against IS

Obama awaits Congress approval of Syria rebel aid

Hollande in Iraq to back new government

Lebanon to set up refugee camps along border with Syria

Russia slams unilateral US airstrikes on jihadists in Syria

Four Qaeda suspects in Yemen drone attack

Meshaal: Hamas may hold direct talk with Israel

UN Syria envoy says world must confront terrorist groups