Rafik Hariri Center Nonresident Fellow Mohamed Eljarh writes for Foreign Policy Transitions on Libya’s recent House of Representatives election results:
On July 21, Libya’s Higher National Elections Commission (HNEC) announced the results of the country’s second parliamentary elections since the overthrow of the Qaddafi regime three years ago. It amounts to a devastating defeat for the Islamists. The announcement comes at a critical moment. Rival militias are continuing their fight over control of the international airport in Tripoli, which they have turned into a battleground amid the threat of full-scale civil war. The battle for the airport and the issuing of the election results might seem to have little connection at first glance. In fact, they are intimately linked.
In the past two years, Libya’s first democratically elected parliament, the General National Congress (GNC), has failed to address the country’s economic, political, and security problems. This has prompted growing public animosity toward the GNC. Politicians and political groups neglected to address that deepening disillusionment, instead frittering away public support by focusing on power struggles and the pursuit of narrow-minded political interests. That, in turn, prompted nationwide demonstrations earlier this year, in which citizens demanded the dissolution of the GNC and called for early elections. The Islamist-dominated GNC dismissed these demands and vowed to continue in power until the ratification of a new constitution.