In Libya’s first post-Gaddafi polls, people in the scorched rebel city of Misrata went to vote today in local council elections as the North-African nation's loose-knit coalition of former rebels struggles to maintain cohesion and political credibility ahead of a national vote scheduled for June, according to Reuters.
Voters are choosing 28 new aldermen who will oversee the reconstruction of the city of 300,000, according to the news agency. After rebellion spread to Misrata a year ago this month, the city was shelled and strafed for more than 40 days and its water supply was cut off. Thousands of residents died in the government onslaught, part of a battle that lasted three months.
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"For the first time in our life we feel we are human. We can choose what we want, it's a joy for all Libyan people, and God willing, it will get better and better," Reuters quoted teacher Basma Fortey as saying as she showed her left index finger, dipped in ink for the vote.
According to The Associated Press, locals accused the first city council, which was self-appointed and came to power early in the rebellion, of corruption,
Today’s elections are the result of a sit-in protest on the council’s steps which forced council members to resign and call new elections.
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The AP said the vote was another example of Libya’s fracturing into autonomous militias and local governments only loosely allied with Tripoli’s National Transitional Council. The news agency said some cities like Misrata were moving more quickly to democracy than Tripoli.
Though the NTC says nationwide legislative elections for a 200-member national assembly will be held in June, no data has been set, according to the AP.