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Libya Election Results Put Liberal Alliance First

A Libyan woman raises her ink stained finger after voting in Libya's parliamentary elections in Tripoli on July 7.
Results from Libya's first free elections in decades show a secular, liberal alliance in first place, in a rare Arab Spring setback for Islamists.

The National Forces Alliance, a liberal coalition led by former interim prime minister Mahmud Jibril, gained 39 of the 80 seats open to parties in the General National Congress.

The Justice and Construction Party, which was launched by Libya's Muslim Brotherhood, took 17 seats.

The results were announced on in Tripoli on July 17 in a grand ceremony attended by Libyan officials including Mustafa Abdel Jalil, leader of the National Transitional Council, and interim prime minister Abdel Rahim, as well as foreign diplomats.:

However, it remains unclear who will dominate the next parliament, as Islamists -- who have won elections in Tunisia and Egypt -- still have a chance to share in government since the balance of power lies with the remaining 120 seats allocated for independent candidates.

Jibril's liberal coalition and the Islamists are likely to court independents and smaller parties in a bid to form a ruling bloc in the new parliament, where major decisions and legislation require a two-third majority to pass.

Transition Period

At least 30 women secured seats in the parliament. In all, women hold approximately 16.5 percent of the 200 seats.

The congress will appoint a new interim government and steer the country for a one-year transition period, until fresh elections can be held on the basis of a new constitution.

The last fully free parliamentary poll in Libya was held after independence in 1952.

The election commission has said that, on July 7, 62 percent of registered voters took part in the first election after Muammar Qaddafi's 42-year reign ended last year in a civil war.

The elections were hailed by world leaders, with EU observers saying the vote was largely "peaceful and smooth."

With reporting by AP, AFP, and Reuters
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