Britain said Saturday's Libyan election was a "landmark" moment for the country and a historic step towards freedom.
Foreign Secretary William Hague said there were still security and human rights challenges to overcome in Libya, but the vote nonetheless was a milestone towards achieving a stable, prosperous country.
Voters flocked to cast their ballots Saturday in Libya's first free national election in decades after the ousting of dictator Moamer Kadhafi, despite protests disrupting some polling in the restive east.
"Today is a landmark moment: for the first time in over 42 years Libyans have exercised their democratic right to choose their leaders and have taken a historic step towards freedom and accountability," Hague said in a statement.
"I congratulate the Libyan authorities for their rapid preparations, supported by the United Nations Support Mission in Libya, to organise these elections in such a short space of time.
"I am also pleased that, over the last few days, thousands of Libyans have had the opportunity to vote in special polling centres in the UK.
"Voting is continuing in some parts of the country and we await reports from the electoral commission, and the electoral observer missions on the ground, but reported security incidents appear isolated and are an attempt by a minority to use violence to deny others their opportunity to exercise their right to vote.
"We strongly condemn such attempts but this should not detract from what is already a remarkable achievement.
"Just one year ago, Libyans were still fighting against a brutal tyrant.
"Following over 40 years of misrule, challenges remain, including security, human rights, particularly the treatment of detainees, and the need to make further progress with restarting the economy and building government institutions.
"But today marks a further milestone towards realising Libyans' ambitions for a peaceful, stable, prosperous and democratic country. The UK government shares these ambitions and will continue to support the Libyan people in realising them."
Source: AFP European Edition