07/07/2012, 00.00
LIBYA

Elections: "The marriage of the Libyan people with Libya"

Queues of people at the polls which opened this morning at 8.00 (local time). The Democratic vote is the first in the history of the country after 43 years of the regime of Muammar Gaddafi. AsiaNews sources describe a calm atmosphere despite the recent violence cost one life. The Muslim Brotherhood members of the NTC are pushing for a constitution based on sharia.

Tripoli (AsiaNews) - Libya's first democratic elections in the nation's history are underway. Polls opened this morning at 8.00 (local time). AsiaNews sources describe a calm atmosphere. "The people are happy to vote - they say - for the first time can choose their future after 43 years of Muammar Gaddafi dictatorship. Outside the polling stations people are calling this a historic event, the marriage of the Libyans with Libya". Between today and tomorrow, in total 2.8 million people will vote. They will choose 200 representatives to write the new Constitution of the country. The candidates are around about 2500.

According to Tiziana Gamannossi, an Italian entrepreneur living in Tripoli, these elections are a test for the whole country and a test for the new democratic system that came into force after the fall of Muammar Gaddafi and his loyalists. "My hope - she says - is that politics is not taken hostage by groups of corrupt leaders and the Libyans learn from the mistakes of Western countries where democracy was born."

The euphoria of the election, however, was marred by several attacks and clashes between security forces and militia groups in favor of the partition of the country, who in recent days have repeatedly put at risk the smooth running of the vote. The sources point out that Libya is still torn by war between three groups: supporters of the former regime, insurgents loyal to the National Transitional Council (CNT) and independents from the cities of Cyrenaica, opposed the unification of the country.

Yesterday, insurgents fired on a helicopter that was transporting election material from Bengazi to Tukara. One of the crew died from his injuries. In Ajdabiya a group of supporters of an independent candidate set fire to a polling station. Another office was instead attacked near Bengazi. In  protest at the distribution of seats among the cities of the country, a groups of armed rebels blocked five centers including those in oil hub Brega, Ras Lanouf and Sidra.

The fighting adds to the aggressiveness of the campaign, where the main protagonists were the affiliates of the Muslim Brotherhood. For weeks they have held rallies, sit-ins, working to maintain security in the city, trying to overcome the distrust of the people of Libya, who with the exception of Benghazi, do not trust the Islamists, fearing the imposition of sharia in the country. Yesterday, Darhoub Saleh, spokesman for the National Transitional Council (CNT) close to the Muslim Brotherhood said that the new constitution will be based on Sharia. "The Libyans - he said - are deeply linked to Islam and its laws, and I hope that the forthcoming Assembly chooses the Koran as its source of inspiration."

 

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