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Iran Press TV

Violence, low turnout mar Libya parliamentary vote

Iran Press TV

Thu Jun 26, 2014 8:49AM GMT

Violence and a low turnout have overshadowed Libya's parliamentary elections, which people hope could end months of political chaos and growing unrest in the country.

The electoral commission said only 630,000 of the 1.5 million registered voters had turned up at the polling stations on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, at least three soldiers deployed to provide security on the polling day were killed in clashes with militants in the eastern city of Benghazi. Reports also say some polling stations were closed due to security reasons in the flashpoint cities of Derna in the east, Kufra in the southeast and the main southern city of Sabha.

The Wednesday vote was held to form a new 200-seat parliament to replace the General National Congress (GNC). Nearly 2,000 legislative candidates competed for seats in the new parliament, which will be called the House of Representatives.

The vote marked the second time the troubled North African country held a poll since the downfall of long-time dictator Muammar Gaddafi following 2011 revolution in Libya. The North African country's first free national vote in more than 40 years was held in July 2012, where 2.8 million people were registered to vote.

The parliamentary elections are widely viewed as a significant step in the country's transition toward more stable democratic governance.

Initial results are expected on Friday or Saturday.

Since the 2011 revolution, Libya has been the scene of numerous attacks and political assassinations amid a power struggle among several militia groups that fought against Gaddafi during the uprising. The former rebels refuse to lay down their arms despite efforts by the central government to impose law and order.

MOS/HJL



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