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Benghazi Heads to the Polls to Elect Local Council
19/05/2012 14:27:00
A month before the general election in Libya, the residents in the eastern city of Benghazi, Saturday headed to the polls to elect a local council, seen by many as the first step in the transition from revolution to state building, in this city, that has become known as the cradle of the revolt that eventually ousted from power after 42 years ruling the country of Muammar Gaddafi.

People were seen happily clogging along to the polling booths to cast their vote in the birthplace of the February 17, 2011 revolution that ended with the death of the former dictator and the overthrow of his regime.

Most of the people have never lived this historic moment. The last time the city voted was in 1964 during the reign of King Idris, whom Gaddafi overthrew in a bloodless coup in 1969.

Just as other cities have already done, on a day such as this, that is being observed as a public holiday, the people intend to show their maturity in casting their votes to elect the local council. Security forces were reportedly deployed to all entrances of Benghazi, but for most of the day, all was calm.

It was Benghazi that the ruling National Transitional Council, NTC, used as its political and military base last year when Libya followed offered its contribution to the Arab Spring after other revolutionaries in the neighbouring countries of Tunisia and Egypt ousted their despotic leaders.

In the wake of last year's conflict and below-strength state institutions, local councils will be playing a vital role in managing the affairs and security of each city as the country struggles to control militias across the country and to keep its pledge of holding elections for a constituent assembly by June 19.

The more than 200,000 citizens registered to vote in Benghazi have 414 candidates to choose from to fill the vacant 41 seats on the council.

Despite the call for a boycott for next month's national vote for a 200-seat national assembly by the leaders of the tribal and political faction that has emerged, clamouring for greater autonomy for the eastern part of the country and a return to federalism, they have that their movement backs Benghazi's poll.

So Saturday the residents of Bengahzi are all out to use this new-found freedom and to give their commitment to the new leaders in the east, hoping their voice will be heard even more when they have a local council to push their case forward.
What a great moment, Tripoli next In Shaa Allah

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