News ID: 8706
Publish Date: 07 July 2012 - 08:55
Polls will open on Saturday morning as federalist protesters threaten to violently disrupt landmark elections.
Libyans are set to vote in the country’s first free national elections in over four decades amid violence by federalist protesters who are threatening to boycott or even sabotage the vote.

On Friday, a helicopter carrying election material from Libya’s eastern city of Benghazi was shot at in mid-flight, fatally wounding a member of Libya’s High National Election Committee (HNEC) logistics team onboard.

"The helicopter was on its way from our warehouse in Benghazi to Tukara when it was hit by small arms fire. One young member of the logistics team was hit and the helicopter landed at Benina airport where he was taken to hospital,” Loui El Magari of the HNEC told Al Jazeera.

"He died there with many member of logistics team present. The team is back to work now. Everything is ready for tomorrow. Nothing can stop us,” El Magari said.

The incident was only the latest in a string of violent eruptions in the run-up to Saturday’s highly anticipated vote.

The 2.8 million registered voters will elect a 200-seat General National Conference (GNC) on Saturday that will replace the unelected interim government that has ruled the country after the revolution against Libya’s ousted leader Muammar Gaddafi.

The polls are set to open from 8am to 8pm and the interim government, represented by the National Transitional Council (NTC), declared E-day and Sunday national public holidays for voters to exercise their civic duty.
Public service commercials on how the voting process works have been running on TV to support voters ahead of the elections. A large majority of Libyans will be going to the polls in the first time in their lives.

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