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Sunday, July 8, 2012

Jubilant Libyans hold 1st nationwide vote in decade’s democracy

Jubilant Libyans chose a new first nationwide parliament vote Saturday their in decades, violence and protests in the restive east underscored the challenges ahead as the oil-rich North African nation struggles to restore stability after the ouster of longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

A Libyan woman votes at a polling station in
the old city of Tripoli, Libya, Saturday, July 7, 2012.
Jubilant Libyan voters marked a major step toward democracy

 One person was killed and two wounded in a gun battle between security forces and anti-election protesters in the eastern city of Ajdabiya, according to the head of the election commission. Nouri al-Abari said the polling centre targeted by the protesters was later reopened and voting commenced normally.

The vote capped a chaotic transition that has exposed major fault lines ranging from the east-west divide to efforts by Islamists to assert power.
I have a strange but beautiful feeling today, dentist Adam Thabet said as he waited his turn to cast a ballot. "We are free at last after years of fear. We knew this day would come, but we were afraid it would take a lot longer.
The shooting followed a spate of attacks on polling centers in the eastern half of the country, which was the cradle of the revolution against Gadhafi but has become increasingly angry over the perceived domination of power by rivals in Tripoli.
Lines formed outside polling centers more than an hour before they opened in the capital Tripoli, with policemen and soldiers standing guard and searching voters and election workers before they entered.

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