Libya's Islamists count on independents to get a majority

AFP , Tuesday 10 Jul 2012

Libya's Islamists say their allies will win the majority of independent seats in the next national congress despite the previously-declared preliminary results

Men shake hands near an election campaign poster of a candidate running for election to Libya's National Congress, Mahmoud Jibril, head of the National Forces Alliance, in Benghazi July 9, 2012. (Photo: Reuters)

Libya's Islamists claimed on Tuesday that their allies will win the majority of seats allocated to independent candidates in the next national congress, which could tip the balance in their favour.

Preliminary results of Libya's landmark elections suggest that the National Forces Alliance, a broad coalition of parties rallied under the banner of wartime prime minister Mahmud Jibril, will leave Islamist parties in the dust. But parties hold only 80 out of 200 seats in the incoming congress with the remainder open to individual candidates, some of whom are genuine independents and others who have ties to specific parties.

"We expect to have a very large presence in the congress," said Mohammed Sawan, head of the Justice and Construction Party, an Islamist party which was spawned by Libya's Muslim Brotherhood.

"Preliminary results (which appear to give the liberal coalition a net advantage) reflect only 40 percent of seats. But early figures show that the coalition has no presence in the remaining 120 seats," he added. "Jibril's party is one of the parties that we have the least in common with," he said when asked whether he would be willing to work with the liberal coalition in the next congress.

On Sunday, Jibril urged all parties to come together for national unity talks. The electoral commission is still tabulating results of Saturday's historic elections, which marked the first national polls after decades of dictatorship under Moamer Kadhafi, who was toppled by a popular uprising last year.

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