Libyans have started voting to choose a 200-seat legislature in their country’s first national elections in more than four decades.
The historic voting started at 8 a.m. (0600 GMT) local time on Saturday and will close at 8 p.m. (1800 GMT) as the interim government declared election day and Sunday national public holidays for voters to exercise their civic duty.
The preliminary results will be announced "on Monday or Tuesday," according to the Electoral Commission. A total of 3,,707 candidates, including 585 women, individual or political groups, participate in the elections which include 72 constituencies. A total of 120 seats were reserved for individual candidates and 80 for lists of political parties.
The 2.8 million registered voters will elect a 200-seat for the National Congress that will replace the Transitional National Council (TNC). The National Congress will then appoint a prime minister and 60 members to draft a new constitution.
In Tripoli, polls opened on time and voters were queuing to vote. No accidents were marked over there.
In the city of Benghazi, anti-election protesters set fire to ballot slips after looting them from a local polling station.
It is worth mentioning that people living in the eastern provinces of Libya feel they haven't claimed all their rights, whereas the revolution started from their side. Tripoli, the capital of Libya, is taking 100 seats in the new assembly. All the eastern provinces will be limited to 60 seats only, which is, in their opinion, not fair and reminds them of the Gaddafi regime.
Reuters reporters said the protesters set alight hundreds of ballot slips in a downtown square.
Last week, supporters of the autonomy at the eastern area called for a boycott of the elections and threatened to sabotage the process.
On Friday, an official of the Electoral Commission was killed when the helicopter in which he was travelling and which was carrying election materials was the target of a firing from small arms.
"The helicopter was on its way from our warehouse in Benghazi to Tukara when it was hit by small arms fire," AFP quoted army spokesman Colonel Ali al-Sheikhi as saying.
"One person on board was killed," he added.
An official of Libya's electoral commission confirmed the victim killed in the incident was their colleague.
More as it becomes available.