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.
A loose grouping of liberal forces opposed to Islamist takeover, including the National Forces Alliance, the federalists, and some tribal sheiks, has claimed victory across large swaths of the east, including in Benghazi, as well as in the south and some parts of the west. However, despite early indications showing liberals had surged ahead, their margin of victory is not yet clear. Final results are not due until mid-July, and since candidates were permitted to stand only as individuals, not as members of political parties, it is difficult to assess the extent of the informal coalition’s success.
By contrast, the Islamists, including the Muslim Brotherhood’s Justice and Construction Party and the Al-Wafa for Martyrs bloc that is close to former jihadist elements linked to the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, appear to have suffered a heavy blow. Provisional results show that the Islamists have won in Misrata and parts of Souq al-Juma in Tripoli — both Islamist strongholds — but suffered heavy losses in other key areas.
This is not surprising. Amid accusations of obstructing the transition and power grab, the Islamists have seen their support dwindle considerably. In addition, many Libyans link Islamist political forces to the more militant brigades and militias that are implicated in a wave of attacks and assassinations in eastern Libya. If these preliminary results prove to be correct, the Islamists will likely lose their dominance in the country’s ruling body.
Full Article: Why elections won’t save Libya | Al Jazeera America.