U.N. reminds Libyans of the importance of voting

TRIPOLI, Libya, Feb. 20 (UPI) -- Libyans voting Thursday for members of a panel to draft a constitution shouldn't underestimate the importance of the task, a U.N. mission said.

Libyans headed to the polls Thursday to vote for a constitutional committee, just days after they celebrated the third anniversary of the revolution that ended Moammar Gadhafi's dictatorship. It's the second time Libyans voted since Gadhafi's downfall and death in 2011.


"All of us are aware that in a transition, a second election may not motivate people and mobilize energies in the same way the first elections did," U.N. special envoy to Libya Tarek Mitri said in a statement. "But we call on Libyans not to underestimate the importance of these elections."

The U.N. Support Mission in Libya said Wednesday it was standing by Libya's elected leaders as the sole representatives of the people.

The Libya Herald reported Tuesday militant groups threatened to arrest Libyan officials if they didn't resign, saying they were acting as "protectors of the homeland."

The newspaper reported Thursday five polling centers in Derna, a coastal city in eastern Libya, were bombed, though there were no reports of injuries.


Earlier this week, the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli said there may be "increased security risks" on voting day.

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