Libyans have started voting in the first parliamentary election since the ouster and slaying last year of long-time dictator Muammar Qadhafi.

Saturday’s vote for a 200-seat legislature is being held amid intense regional rivalries, fears of violence and calls for a boycott. However, lines began to form outside polling centres more than an hour before they were scheduled to open in the capital Tripoli. Policemen and army soldiers were guarding the centres, searching voters as well as election workers.

Libya’s election is the latest fruit of Arab Spring revolts against authoritarian leaders. It is likely to be dominated by Islamist parties of all shades, a similar outcome to elections held in the country’s neighbours Egypt and Tunisia.

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