Libya’s Jibril extends vote lead with Benghazi rout

Reuters reports: The National Forces Alliance of Libyan wartime premier Mahmoud Jibril extended its lead over Islamists in landmark free elections with a landslide victory in the eastern city of Benghazi, new partial vote tallies showed on Wednesday.

The North African country’s first national vote in six decades has been hailed as a success by observers despite election-day bloodshed that claimed at least two lives.

Results from Saturday’s election so far point to a crushing defeat for the Justice and Construction Party (JCP) that is the political arm of Libya’s branch of the Muslim Brotherhood – a sharp break with the electoral gains chalked up by Islamists in other Arab Spring countries such as Egypt or Tunisia.

Benghazi, the cradle of last year’s uprising against dictator Muammar Gaddafi, has been not only a JCP hub but also saw violent election-day protests against the vote by easterners who want more autonomy from the capital Tripoli.

But with 70 percent of the ballot counted, Jibril’s NFA had won 95,733 votes in the constituency against just 16,143 for Justice and Construction, official tallies showed.

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