POLITICS

Libyan nationals take part in historic vote in Ottawa

07/08/2012 03:35 EDT | Updated 09/07/2012 05:12 EDT
Hundreds of Libyan Canadians from across the country descended on Ottawa Saturday to take part in Libya's first free election since longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi was deposed nine months ago.

Libyans are electing a temporary elected assembly responsible for picking a cabinet and prime minister. It's the first election since 1965.

Results are expected in about a week.

Canada is among six nations where the Libyan diaspora were casting ballots Saturday. Polls opened Tuesday in Ottawa.

Mohamed Sati was badly wounded during the fighting in Misrata and was one of 18 Libyan soldiers to receive medical treatment in Canada.

Speaking through a translator, Sati told CBC News it's the duty of all Libyans to vote to show their gratitude for the sacrifices soldiers made.

Jalal Elgallal is a former spokesman for the National Transitional Council.

"It's also an encouragement to the Libyans there," Elgallal said. "If these Canadians can go through the trouble of travelling all over Canada to come here to be part of this historical moment, it's encouragement."

Fathi Ghanai drove with his family from Halifax to take part.

"To vote for the first Libyan election, we are so excited about it," Ghanai said. "It's such a tremendous moment."