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Amid tensions, polls open in key Libyan elections

By Jomana Karadsheh, CNN
updated 6:24 AM EDT, Wed June 25, 2014
A Libyan woman casts her vote at a polling station in the capital of Tripoli on June 25, 2014.
A Libyan woman casts her vote at a polling station in the capital of Tripoli on June 25, 2014.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The vote takes place against high tensions that have polarized Libya
  • It's the country's second parliamentary election since the fall of the Gadhafi regime
  • The vote is seen by the West as important for Libya's transition to democracy

Tripoli, Libya (CNN) -- Polls opened in Libya on Wednesday in the country's second parliamentary elections since the fall of the Gadhafi regime in 2011.

The vote was announced last month as Libya faced its worst political and security crisis since the revolution.

The voting is taking place at a time of high tensions that have polarized the country into two camps: Islamists and those who oppose them.

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More than 1,500 candidates are competing in these elections, but they are running as individuals, not as political parties. In Libya's first vote in 2012, a more liberal political coalition won more seats than the Islamist parties.

The United Nations, the European Union and other Western countries have called for peaceful polling and stressed the importance of these elections for Libya's transition to democracy.

More than 1.5 million Libyans have registered to vote for a new 200 member parliament that will be called the Council of Representatives (COR) and will replace the General National Congress (GNC).

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