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FACTDROP: Siege city Misurata in first Libya poll


Siege city Misurata in first Libya poll

Πηγή: Times of Malta
Feb 21 2012

Residents of the battle-scarred town of Misurata yesterday voted to elect their local council, in Libya’s first poll in more than 40 years and held four months after the killing of Muammar Gaddafi.

“This is a historic event. We hope these elections will be an example” for the rest of Libya, the president of the port city’s electoral commission, Mohammed Balrouin said, describing it as “a dress rehearsal for the upcoming vote” to be held nationwide in June to elect a constituent assembly.

Misurata residents were electing 28 council members from a field of 242 candidates. Some 101,486 people were registered to cast their ballots, from 156,000 eligible voters in a city with a population of 281,000, Mr Balrouin said.

By midday, he put the turnout at between 30 and 60 per cent.

“Our goal was to have a turnout of more than 30 per cent. I believe we’re almost there,” he said.

Mr Balrouin also said that the participation of women voters had “exceeded expectations.”

Yesterday had been declared a public holiday in Misurata, both for the election and to commemorate the date, exactly a year ago, when the city rose up against the regime of Gaddafi who had banned elections as an “invention of the West”.

The “city of martyrs” in Libya’s revolution was besieged for several months by Col Gaddafi’s forces and saw some of the fiercest fighting of the conflict.

“Today we are tasting freedom and democracy. Thank God, the blood of the martyrs was not spilt in vain,” said Fama al-Shawesh, a 19-year-old student, waving blue ink on a finger to show she had voted.

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