Libyan liberals win ballot, grab just one in five seats | News | DW | 18.07.2012
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Libyan liberals win ballot, grab just one in five seats

The liberal coalition in Libya has won the country's first elections since Moammar Gadhafi was ousted, but the group is set to hold fewer than 40 of 200 available seats. Their search for a viable coalition begins now.

The National Forces Alliance (NFA), led by Mahmud Jibril, won 39 of the 80 seats available to political parties, according to final results from the country's vote, delivered 10 days after people went to the polls.

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Moderates win election in Libya

Libya's new congress will have 200 representatives; 120 of the available seats were reserved for independent candidates.

Major decisions and new laws will require a two-thirds majority in congress to pass, meaning that a broad coalition will be required to govern.

Mahmoud Jibril, head of the National Forces Alliance, talks during a news conference at his party's headquarters in Tripoli

Jibril will need a lot of help from a lot of friends to govern

NFA leader Jibril was appointed prime minister last March when Libyan rebels formally established an alternative government during their war with the Gadhafi regime. As a member of the NTC, he was not eligible to stand for a parliamentary seat himself.

The liberal NFA describes itself as a moderate Islamic party. Prior to the results, Jibril had called on Libyan politicians to establish a grand unity government.

The NFA, an umbrella group combining dozens of parties and civil society groups, performed particularly well in the country's two major cities, Tripoli and Benghazi.

The liberals' closest rival in the polls was the Justice and Construction Party, the political wing of Libya's Muslim Brotherhood, which secured 17 parliamentary seats. Party leader Mohammed Sawan has said he believes that many of the 120 independent congressional members will side with his group.

The remaining 24 seats reserved for political parties went to smaller factions, the Electoral Commission said Tuesday. The commission put turnout at 62 percent of registered voters. Officials also said that candidates had a two-week window in which to review and appeal the results.

The new Libyan congress is tasked with appointing another interim government and steering the country for a transition period scheduled to last about one year. Once lawmakers have agreed upon a new constitution, Libyans will be invited to vote again.

Libya is currently ruled by a transitional cabinet whose roots stem from the opposition National Transitional Council and their wartime government based in Benghazi that was set up to rival Gadhafi.

msh/kms (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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