“I’m so excited. I woke up at 6 this morning, before my daughters. A new country has been born. God willing, I will be alive to vote again and again” – Mabroka Amar, 69, at a polling station in Tripoli, quoted in today’s Observer.
A Libyan woman shows her ink marked finger after voting for the National Congress elections in Tripoli, Libya, on Saturday.
Thousands queued to vote in Tripoli and other cities in Libya’a first election since 1964. Despite attacks on polling staions by armed federalist gangs in Benghazi and eastern Libya, overwhelmingly the election has gone ahead smoothly, including (unexpectedly) in the south where there have been serious clashes between Arabs and black Toubo (of African descent) in the recent past. Two polling stations for Toubo were functioning in Kufra, a remote south-eastern town that has seen vicious fighting in the recent past.
Unsurprisingly, the Muslim Brotherhood’s Justice and Construction Party are expected to win, but reports from Tripoli and other cities suggest that Mahmoud Jabril’s relatively “liberal” (but pro-Sharia law) National Forces Alliance is doing well and may even be ahead of the Brotherhood.
But the important thing, for now, is that Libyans have had the opportunity to vote, and the election has been an overwhelming success.
No doubt this will come as a terrible disappointment to those like the so-called ‘Stop The War Coalition’, Tariq Ali and Seumas Milne (never mind poor mad Pilger), who so badly want Libya to fail and who miss no opportunity to tell us that chaos, racist attacks and sectarianism are the inevitable order of the day now that Gaddafi’s gone.
Informed Comment from Juan Cole, here.