Bloomberg News

Jibril Says Alliance Is Open to Governing Coalition in Libya

July 09, 2012

National Forces Alliance leader Mahmud Jibril

Mahmud Jibril, leader of National Forces Alliance. Photographer: Gianluca Guercia/AFP/GettyImages

Mahmoud Jibril, head of the political alliance tipped by some Libyan media to win the July 7 parliamentary election, said he favored a coalition government.

“We extend an invitation, continued as before, to other political forces to come together in one coalition under one banner,” Jibril, leader of the National Forces Alliance, said in a press conference at the group’s election office in the Libyan capital of Tripoli yesterday. “This is a sincere call for all political parties to come together.”

Libyans went to the polls at the weekend in their first free national election in more than 40 years amid political violence that may hamper efforts to rebuild after last year’s uprising that caused Qaddafi’s overthrow and death. Islamist groups sought to emulate the success of their counterparts in Tunisia and Egypt, a trend which culminated in the election of the Muslim Brotherhood-backed Mohamed Mursi as Egypt’s president last month.

The first results of the vote will be announced today, with the final tally scheduled to be released on July 11, Libya’s High National Elections Commission said yesterday. An appeals process will be available for challenges before a final result is declared for the new 200-seat national assembly.

Voter Turnout

Voter turnout was 60 percent according to preliminary figures, Al Jazeera television reported yesterday, citing Nouri Al-Abbar, the head of the country’s election commission. Voters were choosing between about 142 parties and 3,700 candidates.

The turnout may have been affected by “violence experienced on the election day and before,” Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, head of the European Union assessment team, said during a press conference in Tripoli today. “We will need to analyze further data to see if there are links.”

The pre-election period was marked by the eastern region’s push for a measure of autonomy and the transitional council’s failure to wrest power from regional militias which spearheaded last year’s NATO-backed uprising. Fighting among the armed groups this year has undermined security and discouraged local businesses. Protests delayed elections in some towns and shut- off oil exports.

Jibril dismissed speculation that his party was leading in the election count, in which 80 seats are reserved for party lists and 120 for individual candidates.

Front-Runners

“They say in the media that we said we won,” Jibril said. “We did not. We are still silent and confident in the clear results that will come out.”

The Alliance, and the Muslim Brotherhood’s Justice and Construction party, were both expected to be front-runners in the election, the first since the downfall and death of Muammar Qaddafi last year. Jibril, a former economics minister during the Qaddafi era, joined the opposition and became prime minister last year under the rebel National Transitional Council. He’s seen as favoring a more moderate strand of Islam than the Justice and Construction Party.

Speaking in both Arabic and English, Jibril said he occupied the political center. “Some media channels started referring to the National Forces Alliance as liberals -- that’s not true,” he said. The party is “composed of different political formations.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Christopher Stephen in Tripoli at cstephen9@bloomberg.net; Brigitte Scheffer in Tripoli at bscheffer@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net


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