Libyans Vote to Cap Off a Violent Campaign Season
Libyans came out to vote in force this weekend, despite considerable violence in the lead-up to the election which included the destruction of a campaigning helicopter and attacks on several polling locations.
The National Forces Alliance (NFA), a bloc of pro-NATO parties which has promised to “reward” nations involved in the 2011 war that imposed regime change on Libya, claims to be leading, saying they had dominated in Misrata and held leads in both Tripoli and Benghazi.
The other faction said to be doing well is the Justice and Construction Party (JCP), a Muslim Brotherhood tied organization modeled after Egypt’s Freedom and Justice Party. Their leader is former political prisoner Mohamed Sowan from Misrata. The JCP’s leadership has expressed doubts about a centralized government, and seems to have strong support among expats who returned after the 2011 war. Abdulhakim Belhaj’s party, al-Watan, seems a distant third.
Final results won’t be released for several more days, but preliminary estimates are that the JCP will secure less than 25% of the overall seats, a big drop considering they were initially predicting over 60%.
National Transitional Council (NTC) Prime Minister Mahmoud Jabril, the head of the NFA, has called for a “grand coalition” government, presumably led by him. The US has promised to support the new Libyan government, with Obama saying he was “proud” of the US role in regime change.
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