Elections in Libya — the surprises

Umar Khan writes: The results of the first elections of Libya in over four decades have been emerging gradually and there almost certainly will still be major surprises ahead. There has already been a one big one. Before the poll, it was widely expected that the Muslim Brotherhood-linked Justice and Construction Party (J&C) would emerge as the largest party in the National Congress.

However, it is now clear that Mahmoud Jibril’s National Forces Alliance (NFA) is leading in the party lists and will have the lion’s share of the 80 seats reserved in the congress for political parties. In several constituencies, it took as much as ten times the votes won by J&C which came a poor second.

However, after subsequent predictions that Jibril’s National Forces Alliance (NFA) would therefore gain a majority in the 200-seat congress, the picture that is emerging in regard to the 120 seats reserved for individual candidates is rather different. Candidates linked to other parties and genuine independents appear to have won the majority there.

These 120 seats are likely to determine the fate of the future congress.

The results of the party list seats have clearly surprised the J&C leadership. They say they were unable to effectively counter 42 years of propaganda by Qaddafi that portrayed them as traitors and extremists. They accept the fact that they did not win as many seats on party lists as they expected but also claim they are confident of gaining the same number of seats as the NFA because of the success of their individual candidates.

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