Libyans are 'ecstatic' after first real elections get going
It was a historic moment for so many Libyans living at home and abroad. Netizens posted pictures of family members crying at the polling booths and children imitating their parents with blue pen on their fingers.
This was the first ever free and fair election and, for many, the first time they had ever voted.
“Today I feel I am a respected Libyan citizen. Thanks Libya”, wrote one Twitter user, “The most special moment in my life. I can’t hide it.”
The mood of celebration was certainly helped by a 2-0 victory over Saudi Arabia on the same day but most Libyans were excited enough just at the chance to have their say over who ran their country.
“Together Libyans can forge a democracy that is finally subject to the will of its people rather than the whims of a dictator,” she said.
This first round of voting will decide which parties will take seats in the National Conference, a version of parliament, and next up will be the all-important presidential election.
At the moment there are four main parties heading up the race: The Justice and Construction Party (the Libyan Muslim Brotherhood); the Nation Party (a populist Islamist group); the National Forces Alliance (a coalition of 58 parties supervised by the transitional prime minister) and the National Front Party, Gadaffi’s longest running opposition party.
Exit polls so far show the National Forces Alliance ahead of all the others, including the Muslim Brotherhood, despite their popularity in neighboring Egypt.
But a real election is a very recent phenomenon for Libyans and not all the candidates had got the hang of it. While the Muslim Brotherhood were sensibly knocking door to door, others were taping campaign posters over the top of traffic signs.
There was certainly no shortage of enthusiasm though, with 130 political parties putting forward no fewer than 1,207 candidates. If you feel confused so were most Libyans. Everyone could agree on only one thing: there was everything still to play for.
What do you think about Libyans getting the chance to vote? Tell us what you think below.