Libyans are clamoring for basic services. Heaps of trash litter roads because of the lack of proper disposal services, and assuring adequate health care is a priority for many.
Ahmed Shalabi, a Libyan doctor pursuing post-graduate training in Britain, said Gadhafi systematically destroyed Libyan institutions. From health care to education, the country has to start from scratch.
He said he was ecstatic and incredulous to be casting a ballot, a notion that seemed implausible all his life. That was the first step, he said, to severing Libya from Gadhafi's legacy.
And after that?
"The constitution. The constitution. The constitution," Shalabi said. "If we get that right, everything else will fall into place."
Campaign posters and billboards in Libyan cities and towns advertised all the candidates running. Most are unknown to Libyans, much like the political process itself. Gadhafi was not one to cultivate political culture.
But Libyans have high hopes for their future.
"If Libya's issues are a mosaic, I believe I hold one piece of it," said Awziya Shweigi, one of the thousands of candidates. "It might be a small one, but an effective one that completes it."
A geneticist by trade, she has been working to identify the bodies of those who died in Libya's eight-month uprising. Now, she said she wants to do more.
Frederic Wehrey of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, who has been in Libya ahead of the parliamentary vote, said he was guardedly optimistic about Libya's transition.
"The glaring shortfalls in the transition are the lack of development in the security sector and the continued activity of powerful militias," Wehrey wrote on the think tank's website.
"It's tempting on the surface to see the situation on the ground as chaotic and alarming with armed men roving the streets. But it's not all bad news, in many cases the militias actually maintain a degree of discipline, provide pre-election security, and work with the government to police their own areas -- so things are being kept under control, at least for now. The key question is how these militias will react to the election results and the subsequent distribution of power among tribes and towns."
Shweigi said she may not be an expert on defense or the national budget, but as a woman, she represents a large part of Libyan society. She is a widow and mother of six, and said her experience with family will make her an asset.
She has been campaigning on the streets, fully covered in Islamic dress, talking to women -- and men.
That's a huge change in this Islamic nation, said Samer Muscati of Human Rights Watch.
"Previously we would not have as many pictures of women outside in public spaces, and now that's becoming a normal event at least in Tripoli and some other areas as well," he said. "So I think this election is changing women's participation not only in politics but also in a larger scale."
Shweigi said she doesn't expect to win Saturday.
But she, like so many other Libyans, feels she was born again after Gadhafi was gone. And she wanted to experience the fruits of the revolution.