They waited 60 years for a free national election.
Now as counting continues, Libyans are having to be patient a little longer after a ballot hailed as an early triumph for democracy.
First results from Saturday’s largely peaceful poll are due today, with an early lead claimed by a coalition of liberal parties led by Mahmoud Jibril. Libya’s wartime rebel prime minister, he has urged all political groups to back the creation of a grand coalition government.
Ian Martin, the top UN envoy to Libya, hopes the long counting process won’t cast doubts over the vote.
“It is important that the delay does not become the source of any suspicion,” he said.
“It certainly shouldn’t. One of the great features of this election is that there have really been no allegations of malpractice at any level. Mistakes, sure in a first election, but no malpractice.”
Nine months after Muammar Gaddafi’s death, big challenges lie ahead. However, Libyans celebrating in Tripoli and elsewhere see this vote as a chance to draw a line under his dictatorship and forge a brighter future for their country.