by Ray Fleming

With Syria suddenly in a turmoil whose outcome is unpredictable and the resolution of the Egyptian stand-off between Army and elected president still unresolved, it is mildly comforting to know that the final result of the recent Libyan parliamentary election was a victory for the moderate National Forces Alliance and its competent leader Mahmoud Jibrit. Of the 80 parliamentary seats available to registered parties 41 were won by the Alliance and 17 by the Muslim Brotherhood's Justice and Construction Party. However, a further 120 seats were fought by candidates with no party affiliation and it remains to be seen whether they will retain their independence or ally themselves with either of the two leading parties. But even if a significant number support the Muslim Brotherhood there will be considerable relief in the West that after Tunisia and Egypt an Islamist party has not been able to take direct power in Libya. There is still a long road to Libya's full constitutional reform, a journey that will probably last for a further two years. The confidence placed in Mahmoud Jibrit is encouraging. An American educated economist he served as an adviser to Muammar Gaddafi but jumped ship to join the rebel forces in good time last year. Libya's oil industry is almost back to its pre-rebellion status, reducing the country's considerable financial problems immediately after Gaddafi's downfall.


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