Ex-Gadafy minister is likely leader of new coalition
ANALYSIS:Non-candidate Mahmoud Jibril featured prominently in his party’s campaign
FINAL RESULTS from Libya’s first national election in more than four decades are still days away but the country is abuzz with unofficial tallies that appear to indicate a strong performance by more liberal forces in the shape of a coalition led by a US-educated political scientist who served as minister under Muammar Gadafy.
Mahmoud Jibril, until last October interim prime minister in the National Transitional Council, yesterday played down reports that his National Forces Alliance (NFA) had secured a large proportion of the 80 seats in Libya’s new 200-strong national assembly set aside for party lists. The remaining 120 are allocated to individual candidates.
Many of those who ran for the individual seats are aligned with parties or other groupings, making it more difficult to predict the overall complexion of the assembly. Saturday’s election was held to select the assembly that will appoint another interim government ahead of parliamentary elections due to be held after a constitution is drafted.
On Sunday night Jibril said he was willing to bring together a coalition, which would include Islamist groups, to govern post-Gadafy Libya.
“We extend an honest call for a national dialogue to come altogether in one coalition, under one banner . . . This is an honest and sincere call for all political parties operating today in Libya,” he said at a press conference.
“In [the weekend] election there was no loser or winner . . . Whoever wins, Libya is the real winner.”
Jibril, who had been a divisive figure last year, was not a candidate in the election but his coalition appears to have garnered votes from a wide range of Libyan society.
His role as interim prime minister last year and high media profile ensured he was one of the most recognisable faces in the election campaign. He dominated NFA campaign posters and literature, despite the fact he was not running himself.
In recent months, he and his coalition employed more religious rhetoric in a bid to counter Islamists who sought to portray them as “liberal” or “secular” – terms often viewed negatively in conservative Libya. Though more liberal than its main rival the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Justice and Construction Party (JCP), which ran the largest number of candidates in Saturday’s election, it would be a mistake to describe the NFA itself as liberal. Like most other political entities participating in the ballot, it pledged to make sharia law a main source of legislation.