Libyan Liberal Alliance Wins Big, But Governing Will Be Tricky

As Libya counts its votes in the first free election in 60 years, former prime minister Mahmoud Jibril's alliance is emerging as a clear victor. But due to the allocation of seats in Libya’s parliament, it may be difficult for any one group to govern without a coalition. Jibril insists his multi-party alliance is not secular or liberal and that it adheres to Sharia law.

al-monitor Mahmoud Jibril, head of the National Forces Alliance, talks during a news conference at his party's headquarters in Tripoli July 8, 2012. Photo by REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra.

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mahmoud jibril, libya’s general national congress, libyan electoral commission, libyan elections, alliance of national forces

Jul 11, 2012

The Libyan High National Electoral Commission (HNEC) continues to disclose the results of the partial election for Libya’s General National Congress (GNC). The Alliance of National Forces (ANF), led by former prime minister Mahmoud Jibril, has won the elections by a landslide over its Islamist rivals.

According to the Libyan News Agency, the vote-counting process is still underway at the Center for Statistics and Information in the HNEC in Tripoli. Local and international observers were present during the process to prepare for the announcement of even more results for the individual candidates and political parties that ran in the elections in Libya’s 13 constituencies. The news agency said that the votes in Benghazi and Tripoli are still being counted, but it has been reported that Jibril is in the lead in both constituencies.

Jibril has insisted that his multi-party alliance is not secular or liberal and that it adheres to Sharia law as one of its main principles, according to Reuters. People in Libya are voting in the first nationwide election in more than 60 years, a landmark achievement for the country after 42 years of dictatorial rule under the late dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

Jibril received his education in the US, and speaks fluent English and is familiar with Western capitals, where he led most of the Libyan opposition’s diplomatic missions last year. He is likely to be accepted by the NATO allies, who supported the uprising to overthrow Gadhafi.

The ANF is heading toward a landslide victory in the Janzour region near Tripoli, as well as in the cities of Zliten, Mislata, Tarhunah and Khoms in the western region. In the third-largest city of Misrata, the Union for Homeland, led by Abdul Rahman Swehli, is headed toward victory. The Justice and Construction Party, the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood in Libya, and al-Watan Party, which is led by a former leader of opposition fighters, have not performed very well in the partial results.

However, some analysts warned that only 80 seats in the 200-seat National Congress are allocated for political parties, while the remaining 120 seats are allotted for individuals who ran as independents. The assembly will be entrusted with choosing a prime minister before the general elections, which are scheduled for next year.

“We do not know how the independents will organize their ranks,” said Hanan Salah from Human Rights Watch.

There is speculation that Jibril will not be present in the National Congress, as he is seeking the greater role of the president, should a new Libyan constitution be drafted next year. However, Jibril denied this speculation and offered to hold talks with all 150 political parties in Libya to establish a major coalition.

On another note, former Chief of the Foreign Security Department Abu Zed Omar Dorda appeared before the court of criminal appeals in Tripoli within the framework of the trials for the former regime’s senior officials, which took place on Tuesday, July 10. The court decided to defer consideration of the case to August 28, at the request of the defense. The case has been defered three times now since it was opened on June 5.

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