(Reuters) – Barely 13 percent of Libyan voters had turned up at the polls by noon on Wednesday to elect a new parliament that officials hope will finally restore order three years after the fall of Muammar Gaddafi.
Libya is still struggling to make its transition into a stable democracy after after four decades of one-man rule. The country has slid deeper into chaos since a renegade army general opened a campaign against Islamist militants in the east.
Turnout in the election is widely expected to be lower than it was in July 2012, the first free national vote in more than 40 years.
By noon, some 200,000 had cast their vote, election officials said, blaming hot weather. Some 1.5 million voters have registered, roughly half the 2.8 million registered in 2012 after the election commission tightened registration rules.
Some polling stations stayed shut for security reasons in the eastern town of Derna, an Islamist hotspot, Kufra in the southeast, a regular scene of tribal fighting, and the main southern city Sabha, officials said.