by Nurettin Yigit, JTW
After the first-free elections held last month in Libya, the General National Congress constitutes today (08.08.12) the first time in Tripoli. This is the next important step in further democratisation for Libya in addition to the elections of July 7 2012.
The first stage of Libya’s political transformation was the establishing of the National Transitional Council (TNC) by anti-Gaddafi forces during the Libyan Uprising. This Council led the first free vote for a General National Congress after the overthrow of Gaddafi’s 42-year rule in July 2012.
The High National Election Commission declared on July 17 the National Forces Alliance (Tahalouf al-quwa al-wataniyya), a moderate-Islamic alliance, under the rule of former interim Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril as the winner. They won 39 out of 80 seats in the parliament against the Justice and Construction Party (Hizb al-adala wal-bina), the Libyan branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, which recieved 17 seats. The General Assembly includes 200 members of which 80 are elected through a party list and the remaining 120 members are chosen independently from their respective parties.
The results were intepreted as a defeat for the political wing of Libya’s Muslim Brotherhood, breaking a trend of success for Islamist groups in other Arab Spring countries such as Egypt and Tunisia. Now Jibril’s alliance, which draws on a number of regional groups, also has good chances of establishing an influental position in Libya’s new elected parliament.
With the first session of the parliament initiated today, there exists high expectations by the Libyans‘. The initial tasks of the General Assembly is to install a new prime minister and a working cabinet. The assembly has to solve urgent problems, such as defining a new state system and the role of Islam and Sharia law, spur economic development in the country and pass various administrative and regulatory decrees.