On June 25, Libyans went to the polls to elect a new 200-seat Council of Deputies that would replace the General National Congress. Three years after Libya’s revolution overthrew Muammar Gaddafi’s regime, the country’s security continues to deteriorate, and its economy has been crippled by endless protests at its oil facilities. The ruling Congress, whose mandate expired in February but which has continued to limp along until these latest elections, became so dysfunctional that many of its members simply stopped attending meetings. Most Libyans feel their politicians have failed to deliver basic government. As such, many hoped the elections would offer the promise of a much-needed new start and help salvage the country’s ailing transition. But these elections may not usher in a new era. Libya’s political institutions have proved weak and ineffectual, and there is little to suggest that the new ruling body will be any different. Moreover, the struggle between liberal and Islamist political forces, which left the Congress paralyzed and prompted calls for its dissolution, continues to play out in the country.
The European Union on Thursday lauded the Libyan authorities for conducting the recent parliamentary elections in a transparent as well as orderly manner, and congratulated the Libyan people on their “peaceful and dignified” march towards democracy. In a statement released after the announcement of the preliminary results for the election of the Libyan National Congress, EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton hailed Libya’s election commission for conducting the electoral process in a professional manner. She said the EU Electoral Assessment Team (EU EAT) had assessed that processing of results at the tally center in Tripoli had been transparent and fully open to observation.
Results from Libya’s first elections after the overthrow of Col Gaddafi have shown gains for an alliance of parties seen as broadly liberal. The National Forces Alliance, led by ex-interim Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril, has won 39 out of 80 seats reserved for political parties. The Muslim Brotherhood’s party has gained 17.The 200-member National Assembly will also include dozens of independent candidates. The overall orientation that the assembly will have is therefore unclear. What remains to be seen is who, if anyone, will lead the assembly by majority, the BBC’s Rana Jawad in Tripoli reports. That will depend on the allegiances of 120 independent candidates, which are largely unknown, she adds. While congratulating other parties, the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Justice and Construction Party said it had made gains in seats reserved for independent members.They may now be banking on a shift in their favour from the non-party lists, our correspondent adds.
Officials have begun recounting votes and tallying absentee ballots in elections in Libya. Meanwhile, a rights group says militias still hold 5,000 detainees, despite a deadline to transfer prisoners for trial. Libya’s election commission has announced that it is also reviewing appeals lodged by candidates after the release of partial results over the past week. The full results of Libya’s first free nationwide vote, on July 7, had been expected as early as Saturday. Now, the election commission chief says the full official results may finally be announced on Monday.
Libya’s wartime prime minister Mahmoud Jibril extended his lead in landmark elections, vote tallies showed on Wednesday, but Islamist rivals predicted their score would be boosted by allied independent candidates. Jibril’s National Forces Alliance headed for a landslide win in the eastern district covering the towns of Tobruk and Derna, seen as a hardline Islamist stronghold, suggesting his support was broader than urban areas such as the capital Tripoli. However Western-educated Jibril’s gains do not automatically translate into dominance of the 200-seat national assembly which is set to choose a prime minister and cabinet before setting the stage for full parliamentary elections in 2013.
Wartime rebel prime minister Mahmoud Jibril took an early lead in Libya’s national assembly election, according to partial tallies released on Monday that pointed to a weaker than expected showing for Islamist parties. If confirmed that trend would set Libya apart from other Arab Spring countries such as Egypt and Tunisia where groups with overtly religious agendas have done well – although Jibril insists his multi-party alliance is neither secular nor liberal and includes sharia Islamic law among its core values. Saturday’s poll was the first free national vote in six decades and drew a line under 42 years of rule under former dictator Muammar Gaddafi. International observers said it went well despite violent incidents that killed at least two people. Jibril’s National Forces Alliance (NFA) was heading for landslide victories in the Tripoli suburb of Janzour and the western region towns of Zlitan, Misalata, Tarhouna and Khoms with over three-quarters of votes counted in those areas. In Misrata, Libya’s third city, the Union for the Homeland led by a long-time Gaddafi opponent, was on course to win.
Libya: Libyans vote in 1st nationwide election in decades but violence underscores challenges ahead | The Washington Post
Jubilant Libyans chose a new parliament Saturday in their first nationwide vote in decades, but violence and protests in the restive east underscored the challenges ahead as the oil-rich North African nation struggles to restore stability after last year’s ouster of longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi. Women ululated, while men distributed sweets and the elderly with canes or wheelchairs struggled to get to polling centers in a show of joy over the most visible step toward democracy since the eccentric ruler was killed by rebel forces in late October after months of bitter civil war. “Look at the lines. Everyone came of his and her own free will. I knew this day would come and Gadhafi would not be there forever,” said Riyadh al-Alagy, a 50-year-old civil servant in Tripoli. “He left us a nation with a distorted mind, a police state with no institutions. We want to start from zero.”