Fewer than half of eligible Libyans vote in parliamentary election

Fewer than half of eligible Libyans vote in parliamentary election

PanARMENIAN.Net - Fewer than half of the eligible Libyans voted in a parliamentary election on Wednesday, June 25, overshadowed by violence, officials said, with the paltry turnout reflecting disillusion with chaos pervading since Muammar Gaddafi's overthrow in 2011, Reuters reports.

Gunmen shot dead Benghazi lawyer Salwa Bugaighis, a prominent human rights activist who helped organize the first protests against Gaddafi when the uprising started in the eastern city. A security official said unknown people had entered her house to assassinate her.

At least four people were also killed in heavy clashes between Islamists and government forces in Benghazi, medics said, part of turmoil gripping the oil producer as the government is unable to control militias who helped oust Gaddafi and now defy state authority.

Turnout was much lower than in July 2012, the first free national vote in more than 40 years. Some 1.5 million were registered to vote, compared with 2.8 million in 2012, after rules were tightened.

Only 630,000 Libyans cast their vote, the election commission said. Live cameras from news channels in the main cities showed mostly empty polling stations.

The election was called last month as a way to strengthen central state authority after renegade army general Khalifa Haftar opened a campaign against Islamists in the east.

Some polling stations stayed shut for security reasons in the eastern Islamist hotspot of Derna, Kufra in the southeast where tribes regularly clash and the main southern city of Sabha, officials said.

As a result, up to 15 seats in the 200-strong assembly will remain vacant, Emad Al-Sayeh, head of the election commission, told reporters, according to Reuters.

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