On 7 July, Libya organized its first democratic elections, in which 200 representatives were elected for the General National Congress (GNC). Despite security concerns and the challenge to organize elections in which almost four thousand candidates participated, more than 60% of the electorate casted their vote and no major violence was witnessed on election day. The National Forces Alliance (NFA), an alliance of parties led by former interim Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril, won 39 seats out of 80 seats allotted to political parties. Contrary to the success of Islamists in elections in Tunisia and Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood’s Justice and Construction Party (JCP) only gained 17 seats. Next to the 80 seats for political parties, 120 seats are reserved for independent candidates.  The GNC will in first instance organise elections for a Constituent Assembly and appoint a new prime minister.

Impact on country risk

The GNC elections represent an important step in Libya’s political transition. Given the important number of independently elected representatives, the functioning of the assembly and the new government may depend on the alliances that will be formed in the coming days and weeks. Hence, despite the almost absolute majority of the NFA in the party lists, it is not yet clear how it will be able to position itself in the complete parliament. So far, Jibril’s call for a national unity government has not yet been accepted by other parties. Thus, political uncertainty remains very high for the time being. When formed, a new government will however be supported by the revenues from Libya’s oil production, which is reported to have returned to pre- war level. Moreover, as Libya’s first democratically elected government, it will benefit from its democratic legitimacy. At the same time, the new government will face the difficult challenges to further hold together and rebuild the country, meet the Libyan people’s high expectations after the fall of Qadhafi and find a solution for the militias that fought against the Qadhafi-regime and are still present in the country.

Analyst: The Risk Management Team, r.cecchi@credendogroup.com