President Obama says Libya's parliamentary elections mark a "milestone" in the country's transition toward democracy.

The president says Wednesday's vote demonstrates "the power of individual Libyans in determining their future." But he says the elections are just one step in Libya's transition and calls on the new government to address security challenges, provide effective public services and ensure an inclusive political process.

The results of the elections are yet to be announced. Islamists and their allies held a thin majority in the outgoing parliament and are expected to lose ground in the vote.

Libya has hardly had a functioning government and has been plagued by rampant militias and Islamic extremists since the ouster of longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi.