The winner, the National Forces Alliance under the former Prime Minister of the National Transitional Council Mahmoud Jibril, brings together liberal parties and movements, as well as independent politicians. Jibril had close ties to the Gaddafi regime, but was one of the first high-ranking functionaries to defect to the revolutionaries. This added to his popularity in the West, but caused many Libyans to call him a double-dealer. Anyway, the fact that his alliance has won the election proves that he has mustered support from both revolutionaries and adherents of the former regime. Jibril is, besides, from the Warfalla tirbe, the largest and most influential in Libya.
Libya’s political parties have been assigned 80 seats in the new parliament. The Jibril-led alliance will have 39 seats. 17 seats went to the Justice and Construction Party, which will have the second-strongest faction. The party is that of Libya’s “Muslim Brotherhood”. The remaining 24 seats went to representatives of regional political groups.
The secular liberals’ election win has chased away the fears of experts that Libya will come under the strong influence of religious radicals now that the Gaddafi regime has been toppled. Many of such radicals have been involved with Al-Qaeda. But then, it’s only a rough political landscape in Libya, an analyst with the St. Petersburg Modern Middle East Research Centre, Alexander Sotnichenko, says, and elaborates.
"The election results can be seen as valid only in major cities, and not in all big cities at that, Alexander Sotnichenko says. Now, it’s safe to claim that the population of these cities is not that of Orthodox Islamists. There is, besides, a strong European influence. Quite a few Muslims, especially those who form part of various Islamic and/or religious and political associations chose not to cast ballots at all. Theirs are different ways to struggle for power. And last but not least, vast areas outside major cities where chaos and anarchy still reign supreme have been practically excluded from voting."
Libyans tend to believe that it’s more reasonable to follow a liberal path of development than to remain within the framework of Islamism. The opinion was ventured by Vladimir Sotnikov, an expert for the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of World Economy and International Relations. But he warns that the liberals’ win of the election does not add up to much.
"The liberal forces that have won the election, Vladimir Sotnikov says, differ little from Islamists in terms of views. I find it difficult now to predict the path of development that Libya will follow. Relatively little time has passed since the Libyan opposition put paid to the Gaddafi regime. The internal strife is still ongoing. The threat that Islamists may come to power is looming large. It seems that Islamists and the liberal forces will get increasingly at odds with each other, although, let me say it again, there’s little if any difference between the first and the second."
The Muslim Brotherhood movement has said they are disappointed at their defeat but are prepared to work as part of a coalition government. That is the way they reacted to Mahmoud Jibril’s plan to invite representatives of all political forces to the Cabinet, to restore national unity.
But there are a total of 200 seats in the new Libyan Parliament, so the remaining 120 deputies who’ve been elected from individual, rather than party, lists are actually dark horses. Now, 120 MPs make up three fifths of all deputies. Is it likely that they will form yet another, possibly the most influential, force in the new parliament?