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Amid turmoil, Libya holds parliament elections

Tripoli, June 26 (): In a parliamentary election held on Wednesday in Libya, only less than half of the qualified Libyans voted, officials said.

Even though the attendance was low, there were prospects of quick end to chaos as a stable group of Libyans voted to cast their faith in democratic transformation as it is the only path to direct their nation back to right path.

Just 13% Libyans went to the elections on Wednesday by noon to choose a new parliament that the officials too hope would help reinstate order in three years after Moammar Gadhafi’s fall.

The voter turnout was far lower than registered in July 2012, the first free nationwide election held in more than 40 years. Nearly 1.5 million were listed to vote this year, compared to 2.8 million listed in 2012. The election commission said only 630,000 Libyans cast their vote. The news channels’ live camera in main cities mostly showed empty polling places.

The United Nations had called the election as “a vital step in the transition of Libya towards steady democratic supremacy”.

Last month, the election was termed as a mode to make the central state power stronger after Khalifa Haftar, rebel army general, opened a movement against Islamists in the east.

Nearly 2,000 contenders were competing for seats in the new 200-seat parliament, the House of Representatives.

Meanwhile, fresh fighting was reported in eastern city of Benghazi. Residents reported that explosions and firing from a military plane in a region where Islamist militants and renegade general forces clash regularly.

Security officials said Islamist rebels had fired a local security head office. At least 30 people were injured in the incident, they said. In one another separate case in Benghazi, unknown gunmen had shot dead Salwa Bughaighis, a human rights activist at her house soon after she returned home from voting.

Without an effective parliament and government, Libya is fighting to impose power over heavily equipped former rebels, tribes and militias. Libya also has budget crisis. Protests at shipping ports and oilfields by armed militias have reduced oil production, the country’s lifeline.