Alliance in Libya Wins Big, But Still Needs Majority

Article Summary
Though Mahmoud Jibril and his Alliance of National Forces defeated the Islamists in the first round of party-list elections, their 39 seats are not enough to form a parliamentary majority. The battle now shifts to the individual seat elections, and the race to form a political bloc to dominate the congress has already started.  

In Libya, political movements have started a race to win the largest number of individual seats in the country’s General National Congress (GNC) elections. The official results announced on Tuesday, July 17 have shown that the Alliance of National Forces (ANF), led by former prime minister of the Libyan National Council Mahmoud Jibril, won over the Islamist parties. However, the ANF was not able to gather a majority of the seats after the end of the decades-long dictatorship.

The 48.8% of the vote won by the ANF equates to 39 out of the 80 seats that had been allocated for party lists. This means that the ANF is guaranteed at least 20% of seats in the General National Congress. The Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Justice and Construction Party came in second with 21% of the vote (17 seats), and the National Front Party came in third with 3.8% of the vote (three seats).

The National Front Party is affiliated with the National Front for the Salvation of Libya, which was the largest opposition movement against Muammar Gadhafi in the 1980s and1990s. Its most prominent leaders, Muhammad al-Makrif (from Ajdabiya), Ibrahim Sahad (from Benghazi) and Mouhammad Ali Abdallah Addarrat (from Misrata), were voted into the GNC.

Dozens of the political entities established just months after the ousting of the Muammar Gadhafi regime in October did not win more than two seats. However, the Union for the Homeland did win two, and its leader Abdel Rahman al-Suwayhili became a MP with 24,000 votes in Misrata. Suwayhili took part in the campaign that forced Jibril to resign from his post in October. Some people link Suwayhili’s stance in this matter to the enmity between Misrata and Jibril’s Warfala tribe. This enmity dates back the war last year that toppled Gadhafi. 

The Al-Watan Party, founded by Abdelhakim Belhadj, who was emir of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, suffered a resounding defeat in the Tripoli constituency. The ANF, on the other hand, achieved a sweeping victory there.

Leaders of the Islamic Fighting Group established the Central Umma Gathering and succeeded in electing candidates to parliament, although the group’s success was limited to a single constituency in the suth. The party’s candidate, Abdul Wahab, was among the four winners in Marzak, and Muhammad Abbdul Nabi Hussein also won a party seat for the Gathering. These results show the people’s sympathy for the former fighters in southern Libya. 

Some of the new Libyan MPs were elected by only a handful of votes, while other victors took thousands. For instance, Mohammad Abdul Karim Doma, a candidate in the constituency of Tazerbo in the south, won his seat with 276 votes. Meanwhile, Saleh Bashir Ajaouda needed 40,200 votes to win in Benghazi.

The election results can be appealed within two weeks, and the race to form a political bloc to secure a majority in the next GNC has already started. If Libya’s political parties fail to secure this majority, they will be compelled to form a coalition that can shape the country’s policy for the coming phase.

Found in: national front for the salvation of libya, national front party, misrata, libya elections, libya, islamic fighting group, central umma gathering, bangazi, alliance of national forces, ajdabia

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