Libyan wartime Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril’s National Forces Alliance was on course for landslide election victories in districts across the capital Tripoli, partial tallies released by the election commission on Thursday showed.
The tallies add to NFA victories elsewhere in Libya and mean Jibril’s alliance is well ahead of Islamist rivals such as the Justice and Construction Party in the first free vote since last year's uprising ended Muammar Qaddafi’s 42-year rule.
In central Tripoli, the NFA grouping of some 60 moderate parties won 46,000 votes against just 4,000 for Justice and Construction, the political wing of Libya’s Muslim Brotherhood.
The NFA was first in three other Tripoli districts and an allied party won in the capital’s fifth constituency, according to Reuters.
However, that does not automatically translate into a majority of the new 200-head assembly for the NFA, as the bulk of its seats have been allotted to independent candidates whose allegiances are hard to pin down.
Full official results are not due until next week at the earliest.
Western-educated Jibril has already called for parties of all hues to come together for talks on forming a national unity coalition with a priority of rebuilding Libya.
The world is keen to see whether Libya, a conservative Muslim country with no significant minorities, will buck the trend of the Arab Spring, which has brought Islamists to power in neighboring Tunisia and Egypt.
Results are being rolled out district by district in a complex counting system that needs to measure the performance of both the individual candidates and candidates fielded by political entities.
The race for parties follows the proportional system, in which seats of the congress will be distributed among political entities in roughly the same proportion as the votes cast for that party.
This system gives a chance for Islamists to squirrel away some seats in the assembly even if they come a distant second.
On Tuesday, Mohammed Sawan, head of the JCP which was spawned by the Muslim Brotherhood, said he expected Islamists to dominate the next congress by forming alliances with like-minded independents.
“We expect to have a very large presence in the congress,” he said, according to AFP.
NFA Secretary General Faisal Krekshi said Wednesday that his coalition, based on the figures released so far, expected to gain at least half of the seats, banking on 55 party seats and 45 allied independents.
The alliance, he said, is a non-ideological movement which is open to a broad spectrum of parties that only demands patriotism and a commitment to rebuild the country on the basis of knowledge and experience.