In Libya vote, coalition party headed by former transition chief claims lead

The Los Angeles Times reports: A political coalition led by the former National Transitional Council’s de facto prime minister has claimed an early lead in Libya’s national election to replace the government of fallen longtime dictator Moammar Kadafi.

The National Forces Alliance, which appeals to secularists and moderate Islamist sensibilities, said that early exit polls showed it securing sizable majorities in the party vote for a national assembly. The coalition is headed by Mahmoud Jibril, an American-educated political scientist who once served as an economic advisor for Kadafi.

The NFA’s polling claims, made by Secretary General Faisal Krekshi, were backed up by the rival Muslim Brotherhood’s Justice and Construction Party.

“The National Forces Alliance achieved good results in some large cities except Misrata,” the Muslim Brotherhood’s Justice and Construction Party’s Mohammed Sawan told AFP. “They have a net lead in Tripoli and in Benghazi.”

High National Election Commission officials refused to confirm Krekshi’s claims.

“We are all waiting and we have nothing to suggest that one party is ahead of others,” the commission’s head Nouri al-Abar told journalists.

Official results are expected later this week.

Election officials said about 60% of eligible voters turned out on Saturday for a vote that was largely incident-free and hailed by foreign observers as free and fair.

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