Praise heaped on Libya after historic vote

July 9, 2012 at 11:19 AM
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TRIPOLI, Libya, July 9 (UPI) -- There should be no underestimating the achievements made in Libya since the country emerged from civil war last year, a U.N. special envoy said.

Libyans took to the polls Saturday for their first democratic election in 47 years. The U.N. Support Mission in Libya estimated that around 2.8 million of the estimated 3.4 million registered voters cast their ballots for members of the National Congress.

Ian Martin, U.N. special envoy to Libya, said the election fulfills the wishes of the Libyan people.

"No one should underestimate what has been achieved," he said in a statement.

An uprising against the regime of longtime Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi led to civil war and NATO intervention. Gadhafi died after falling into rebel hands last year and interim leaders have since ruled the country.

U.S. President Barack Obama said he was "proud" of the role his country played in the NATO intervention.

"We will engage as partners as the Libyan people work to build open and transparent institutions, establish security and the rule of law, advance opportunity, and promote unity and national reconciliation," he said.

Demonstrators ransacked election headquarters in the eastern part of the country. Some parts of Libya since Gadhafi's death have called for more autonomy.

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