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In Libya, Ballots Triumph Over Bullets

Huda Abuzeid took part in Libya’s first elections in 40 years, and the first since dictator Moammar Gaddafi’s regime fell last year. She says Libyans look forward to seeing what their first elected government can do to address the security and economic problems that have plagued the country in the past year.
A woman celebrates on the streets after casting her vote during the National Assembly election in Tripoli's Martyrs square July 7, 2012. Crowds of joyful Libyans, some with tears in their eyes, parted with the legacy of Muammar Gaddafi on Saturday as they voted in the first free national election in 60 years. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra (LIBYA - Tags: ELECTIONS POLITICS)

Walking through Tripoli’s streets on Saturday, the celebratory atmosphere was visible and audible across the city, and it was difficult as a Libyan  not to get caught up in the emotions on display. Having been denied even a local council election for forty years, the city’s population was determined to enjoy this historic day, the country’s first national elections since the 1960s.  I felt so happy and proud of my fellow Libyans.

People smiled at me, waved their flags and honked car horns as they drove through the streets.  Fingers were held up in victory signs – something I hadn’t seen since the one year anniversary of the revolution – except this time most of the fingers were stained in indigo ink: a sign they’d been up early and already voted.

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