UN envoy calls Libya elections a "critical first step" in move to democracyListen /
The top UN envoy in Libya has hailed the country's first free elections in more than four decades as "an extraordinary achievement" and a "critical first step" in the transition towards democracy.
Ian Martin, head of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), said Libyans took enormous pride in both voting in and organizing Saturday's elections.
He spoke to journalists in New York via videoconference from Tripoli.
"The mood in Libya is extremely positive with people taking enormous pride in having voted after nearly half a century, and in how well they organized this vote for themselves. It mustn't blind any of us to the enormous challenges that still lie ahead but it's a critical first step in Libya's democratic transition which has gone better than I think almost anybody in the international community or the international media expected.”
Martin said the African Union, the European Union and the Carter Center have made "extremely positive" statements on the transparency of the vote.
The official election results are still being tabulated, although partial preliminary results have been released.