Candidates have begun campaigning to become part of a new General National Congress in Libya, being formed after 40 years without democracy.
One hundred and forty-two political associations are fielding the hopefuls ahead of voting on July 7. There are 2,501 candidates running.
One man in the capital, Tripoli, said he is looking forward to the ballot, especially because of how the situation was before: “Orders used to come from on high, and there was no discussion, it was all just a show. But these elections that are about to take place, these are the real measure of freedom, because people can now vote for the person they truly want.”
Libya’s electoral commission is urging candidates to act responsibly to prevent violence breaking out and also to disclose their financing.
“Concerning the electoral process, this is a unique experience for Libyans, candidates and voters alike, after 42 years of injustice and tyranny. We hope it will all go smoothly,” said candidate Noree Khalefa Abdel Salam.
A total of 2.7 million Libyans – around 80 percent of eligible voters – have registered to take part in the ballot. They will be exercising a right that they did not have during the four decades of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s dictatorship.