By Asmaa Elourfi
In election results released Tuesday (July 17th), Libya’s moderate coalition came out on top in the nation’s first post-Kadhafi vote. Mahmoud Jibril’s National Forces Alliance won 39 of the 80 seats open to parties in the General National Congress, while the Muslim Brotherhood’s Justice and Construction Party took home 17 seats.
The tally does not include independent candidates, who will make up 120 representatives in the 200-seat congress.
However, the poll was marred by a large segment of society that abstained from voting altogether, particularly in the country’s east.
“I didn’t take part in the election because it is a crime,” commented Derna resident Moussa Ali al-Tajouri. “The participation of parties is a big mistake. Some people voted for parties although they don’t know who is behind them, who is in them, or what their real programmes are. You’d feel that you’re voting for a ghost, not a party.”
Cyrenaica residents voiced specific concern over the distribution of seats among regions, with citizen Omar al-Jahani saying it was “unjust”. Instead, he suggested each of the three regions have an equal number of seats.
“For these and other reasons, I’m not convinced of the election that took place in Libya. Therefore, some friends and I boycotted it, and so did more than 40% of the Libyan people,” al-Jahani said.
Others viewed the vote as a chance to change the system. “I’m against the one who leads the federal system in Cyrenaica. I’m not convinced of the election, but I voted to get rid of the crisis as soon as possible because we’re tired,” Youssef Madi said.
Saleh al-Rafadi from al-Bayda had echoed that view. “I took part in the election in spite of its flaws,” he said. “It’s important to put an end to the tenure of the NTC whose mistakes have aggravated. Therefore, we wanted to put an end to this transition and to start a new hope with a better government.”
“I’m sure that the Libyan people will elect clean, sincere and strong, experienced national figures to lead the country,” al-Rafadi added. “A highly competent government will be put together to help create a strong professional national army based on modern military foundations to protect the country and border. I expect the best for Libya, and that things will proceed well because there are patriotic young people.”
In his turn, Saad al-Dinali said that the vote demonstrated the views of the Libyan street, saying it was “clear to any observer that the Islamic current was not accepted in the Libyan street in spite of all publicity campaigns for it”.
“This doesn’t only reflect awareness at the Libyan street, but also reflects its apprehensions about anything associated with Islamism. Society hasn’t yet accepted the idea of having someone speaking in the name of Islam in a society that is fully Muslim,” al-Dinali said.