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Partial Vote Count Indicates Jibril Leads in Libya Election

Mahmoud Jibril speaks to the media during a press conference at National Forces Allies head quarter in Tripoli, Libya, July 8, 2012.
CAIRO — Sources close to Libya's electoral commission are saying that a coalition of political parties led by former interim Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril is leading in 8 out of 13 of the country's electoral districts after a partial tally of votes cast in Libya's first election since 1964.

Arab satellite channels quoted officials close to the electoral commission as saying the umbrella coalition led by Jibril was ahead. Nouri al Abar, the head the Libya's Electoral Commission, announced that Jibril's coalition had won in Tarhouna, getting over 20,000 votes, while the Islamist Justice and Construction Party won around 5000 votes.

Wissam Sagheer, a member of the electoral commission, warned that many results were being given out to journalists, but that the commission has not made them official.

There have been many leaks by people involved in the vote counting, Sagheer said, adding that the electoral commission will neither confirm or deny them.

International monitors who observed the electoral process, reported that they had seen few violations. An Arab League observer team under former Egyptian Prime Minister Essam Sharef called the vote a “historic achievement.”

Khattar Abou Diab, who teaches political science at the University of Paris, says the preliminary results in Libya indicate that Libya's voters may have changed the perception of an Islamic fundamentalist wave sweeping the region in the wake of the Arab Spring revolutions.

Diab said that there was a good deal of pessimism in recent months about a wave of Islamic fundamentalism. The election in Libya contradicts this, he said, showing that Libyans are more interested in choosing competent rather than Islamic fundamentalist candidates.

Former Prime Minister Jibril's National Forces Alliance is made up of 60 political parties and several hundred civil society groups. Jibril, who was minister of economics under the regime of ousted leader Moammar al Gadhafi, studied in the United States and is reputed to be a moderate.