ISSN 2330-717X

Libya: First Elections In Post-Gaddafi Era


“Everything is ready in Tripoli, people are excited, the elections are being described as the marriage between Libya and the Libyans”: a few hours after the elections for the National Congress, MISNA missionary sources in the Libyan capital reported a peaceful atmosphere, at least in the west. “Elsewhere – they added – such as in the east, the experience of the federalist forces and those who called for a boycott of the vote, while in the south insecurity caused by ongoing tribal clashes will have had its effect on turnout.”

Tomorrow’s elections, according to figures provided by the electoral commission, will feature 2501 party candidates and 1206 Independent candidates from a total of 142 parties. Some 2.7 million Libyans will be asked to vote while eligible residents abroad have already voted in the previous days.

The seats up for grabs at the National Congress are divided among independent 200 (120) and party lists (80). There are dozens of competing parties recently formed and this suggests that the vote will be fragmented and that a few groups able to prevail at the national level.

“At the vote – said days ago MISNA Mezran Karim, a professor of Middle East Studies at the School of Advanced International Studies of Johns Hopkins University (Bologna and Washington) and at John Cabot University in Rome – there are four parties that can count on a higher degree of organization. The Justice Party and the construction of the Muslim Brotherhood, the National Front for the Salvation of Libya, created in 1981 by Muhammad Yusuf al Magarief, former Libyan ambassador to India, which relies on a good local network and al-Watan, which is represented by Abdel Hakim and Ali Belhaj to Sellabi, salafists; and, finally, there are the ‘secular’ forces of the Alliance of National Mahmoud Jibril, former prime minister of transition. ”

But the possible success of these parties will have to confront the reality of highly fragmented Libya where, beyond ideology, the approach will be dictated by tribal affiliation, partisan interests and geographical origin.

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MISNA, or the Missionary International Service News Agency, provides daily news ‘from, about and for’ the 'world’s Souths', not just in the geographical sense, since December 1997.

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