Libya Prepares For Landmark Vote
Libyans are due to go to the polls in the first free national election for 60 years. The historic vote will choose a national assembly which in turn will pave the way for parliamentary elections.
Libyans are due to go to the polls in the first free national election for 60 years. The historic vote will choose a national assembly which in turn will pave the way for parliamentary elections. Many hope the ballot will shake off Muammar Gaddafi's autocratic legacy. But it risks being highjacked by unrest in the south and demands for autonomy in the east. As ballot boxes were farmed out across the country, Deputy Interior Minister Omar Al Khadrawi said security is a top priority. SOUNDBITE: LIBYA'S DEPUTY INTERIOR MINISTER OMAR AL KHADRAWI SAYING (Arabic): "As you have seen in Tripoli and in the South, yesterday, and all of the East and West of Libya, everywhere is like a beehive with activity. No one in the security services has been able to sleep, so hard have they been working to make this event safe and orderly." In the eastern city of Benghazi 3,000 police officers are securing polling stations. Many in the region seek autonomy and argue the new assembly will leave them under-represented. In the latest attack on election authorities, an official was killed as his helicopter was strafed with gunfire. Authorities said the helicopter, carrying voting material, was deliberately targeted. In Gaddafi's hometown of Sirte opinion has also been split over whether to take part in the polls. Many election posters have been defaced in the town, which still bears the scars of Gaddafi's bloody downfall. SOUNDBITE: ABEED MOHAMMAD, LIBYAN, SAYING (Arabic): "They should take care of us first - look at our homes, what are they talking about? They should take care of us first, we don't mind that our country is rebuilt and we have elections in the future, but first things first. You can see how I live - my car and my house were destroyed by NATO." Across Libya, around 80 percent of eligible voters have registered to take part. Full results are expected on Monday (July 9). Sarah Charlton, Reuters.