An alliance headed by Libya’s wartime rebel premier beat the Muslim Brotherhood’s party to secure the single largest block of seats in the country’s first free nationwide elections in more than four decades.
Mahmoud Jibril’s National Forces Alliance won 39 of the 80 seats reserved for parties in the new 200-seat national Congress, falling short of the majority that could have spared it the need to seek out partners, according to results released by the elections commission later yesterday.
The results, with the Muslim Brotherhood’s Justice and Construction party capturing 17 seats, didn’t track elections in neighboring Egypt where Islamists secured a victory following the uprising that ousted Hosni Mubarak. Egypt’s Mohamed Mursi was sworn in at the end of June as the country’s first freely elected civilian leader.
Jibril, who says he’ll rebuild a nation battered both by the eight month conflict last year and the after-effects of decades of neglect under Muammar Qaddafi, has called on all parties to hold talks on a national unity coalition.
The new Congress is charged with selecting a prime minister and a Cabinet before full parliamentary elections next year. The results, which are subject to a two-week appeals process before being certified, showed the Union for Homeland winning three seats. The party is based in Misrata, home to one of Libya’s strongest militias, and is led by Abdel Rahman al-Suwayhili, a long-time anti-Qaddafi dissident and university professor. The remaining 18 parties won either one or two seats.
A total of 120 seats were set aside for individual candidates, with women securing only one of those slots. A second woman who had initially won in one of the districts was edged out in the final tabulation.
Jibril’s group and the Brotherhood’s party will probably have to broker deals with at least some of those individuals to secure their position in the interim legislature that will take over running the country from the National Transitional Council. The NTC has ruled Libya since Qaddafi was pushed from power.
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