Landmark post-Gaddafi elections in Libya

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Landmark post-Gaddafi elections in Libya

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Historic elections have gone ahead in Libya despite disturbances at polling stations in the east of the country.

Hailed as the first free national election in 60 years, voters are deciding the make up of a 200 seat assembly to help cast off the shadow of Muammar Gaddafi’s rule.

Officials said 94 percent of polling stations were open and more than 2.8 million Libyans had registered to vote.

However the election was marred by violence at several polling stations in eastern cities including Benghazi, where ballot boxes were stolen and torched by rebels.

Interim Prime Minister Abdurrahim el-Keib hailed the vote: “It is a well deserved feeling for all Libyans and they are going to surprise the world as they did during the revolution, God willing.”

Once elected, the temporary assembly will decide a new prime minister and cabinet. Full parliamentary elections will follow once a new constitution has been agreed.

Voters said the election was an important moment in history. “I feel like a groom. It is the ‘wedding’ of democracy today,” said Mohamed al Bezanti from Tripoli. “It is the first time that we will choose who will govern us and the people are happy.”

The vote went ahead despite violence and subsequent protests in the oil-rich east of the country.