Libyans went to the polls Thursday to elect a panel to draft a new constitution in the latest milestone in the chaotic political transition following the overthrow of Moamer Gathafi. There was none of the voter enthusiasm that marked Libya’s first free election in July 2012 as public frustration mounts over the weak central government’s failure to restore order in the wake of the Arab Spring uprising. At Fatma al-Zahra school in the capital’s Hay al-Andalous district, less than 100 of 2,760 registered voters had cast their ballot two hours after polls opened. “It’s still early and it’s a holiday (for the vote). People are having a lie-in,” said Ali Hassan, the official in charge of the polling station. Houda Bouzid, a woman in her 30s, said: “I’ve come to vote for a candidate to push for women’s rights in the new constitution.”
Polls opened at 0600 GMT and were to run until 1700 GMT to elect a 60-member assembly tasked with drawing up a new constitution.
Just 1.1 million of 3.4 million eligible voters bothered to register compared to more than 2.7 million 19 months ago — and that only after several extensions to the deadline.
The interior ministry said at least 25 security personnel were being deployed in each of the North African nation’s 1,500 polling stations.
Five polling stations were damaged in overnight bomb attacks in the eastern city of Derna, without causing casualties, election officials and local sources said.
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