Polling stations opened at 8 am Saturday in Libya, for the election of the first national assembly of post-Gaddafi period. The elections are held amid growing tensions and violence, particularly in the East. In Tripoli, polls opened on time and voters were queuing to vote, eight months after the end of armed conflict which caused the collapse and death of Muammar Gaddafi who has ruled with an iron fist for over four decades .
The days ahead of the election were marred by violence in the east: an official of the Electoral Commission was killed when the helicopter in which he was travelling and which was carrying election materials was the target of a firing from small arms.
The preliminary results will be announced “on Monday or Tuesday,” according to the Electoral Commission. A total of 3,707 candidates, individual or political groups, participate in the elections which include 72 constituencies. A total of 120 seats were reserved for individual candidates and 80 for lists of political parties.
As in neighboring Tunisia and Egypt, elections could bring Islamists to power, even though the Liberals are confident in their victory.
The election take place under high tension in the east, where supporters of the autonomy of this region have called for a boycott of the elections and threatened to sabotage the process. On Thursday, they forced oil terminals to a standstill in their bid to denounce the distribution of seats in the future National Assembly (100 seats for the West, 60 for East and 40 for South).