Libyan war-time prime minister Mahmoud Jibril's National Forces Alliance (NFA) was heading for a landslide victory in the national assembly election in the eastern city of Benghazi and surrounding towns, partial results show.
Jibril's NFA won 95,733 votes in the constituency against just 16,143 for the Brotherhood's party Justice and Construction, tallies announced by the election commission showed on Wednesday, consolidating wins the NFA has seen in the west, south and east of the country.
Benghazi, the cradle of last year's uprising against Muammar Gaddafi, is also a hub for the political wing of Libya's Muslim Brotherhood and was a hotspot of protests against Saturday's election by easterners seeking more autonomy from Tripoli.
The Western-educated Jibril's early gains do not automatically translate into a majority in the 200-seat assembly as candidates on party lists are only allocated 80 spots.
Jibril, 60, who benefited from his prominence as one of the main figures in last year's uprising to end Gaddafi's 42-year rule, is not on the ballot under rules blocking members of the anti-Gaddafi transitional government from running. Instead, he acts as a mix of elder statesman and spokesman for a political coalition of more than 50 parties, some as small as just a handful of people.
Positioning himself as a potential unifying figure, Jibril earlier this week called on parties to join a grand alliance.
"We extend an honest call for a national dialogue to come all together in one coalition, under one banner... to reach a compromise, a consensus on which the constitution can be drafted and the new government can be composed," said the NFA leader.
"There was no loser and winner at all. Whoever is going to win, Libya is the real winner of those elections," he added.
Votes are still being tallied with preliminary results rolled out district by district in a complex counting system that needs to measure the performance of individual candidates as well as those of political entities. Faisal Krekshi, NFA secretary general, said: "Early reports show that the coalition is leading the polls in the majority of constituencies."
Preliminary figures from the country's electoral commission showed that 1.7 million of the nearly 2.9 million eligible voters, or about 63 per cent, cast their ballots on Saturday.
Full results could not be unknown until the end of the week as the election commission has decided to bring ballot papers to Tripoli for a centralised count in the first elections since the fall of Gaddafi last year.
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|Timothy V. Gatto|