2012 Libyan parliamentary election

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2012 Libyan General National Congress election

← 1965 7 July 2012 2014 →

200 seats in the General National Congress
(80 seats for political parties, 120 for individual candidates)
101 seats needed for a majority
  First party Second party Third party
  Mahmoud Jibril - World Economic Forum Special Meeting on Economic Growth and Job Creation in the Arab World cropped GNC.png Megariaf cropped GNC.jpg
Leader Mahmoud Jibril Mohamed Sowan Mohamed el-Magariaf
Leader since 2012 2011 2011
Seats won 39 17 3
Popular vote 714,769 152,521 60,592
Percentage 48.1% 10.3% 4.1%

  Fourth party Fifth party Sixth party
  Ali Tarhouni cropped GNC.jpg
Leader Abdelrahman Sewehli Ali Tarhouni
Party UFH NCP Wadi Al-Hayah Party
Leader since 2012 2012 2012
Seats won 2 2 2
Popular vote 66,772 59,417 6,947
Percentage 4.5% 4.0% 0.5%

Libya location map.svg

Prime Minister before election

Abdurrahim El-Keib

Elected Prime Minister

Ali Zeidan

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This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of

Arab League Member State of the Arab League

Flag of Libya.svg Libya portal

Elections for a General National Congress (GNC)[1] were held in Libya on 7 July 2012, having been postponed from 19 June.[2][3][4] They were the first elections since the overthrow and death of longtime ruler Muammar Gaddafi a year earlier, the first free national elections since 1952,[4] and only the second free national elections since Libya gained independence in 1951.

Once elected, the General National Congress was to appoint a Prime Minister and Cabinet.[5] The GNC was originally to be charged with appointing a Constituent Assembly to draw up Libya's new constitution, but the National Transitional Council (NTC) announced on 5 July that the Assembly would instead be directly elected at a later date.[4]

Despite threats of a boycott, a majority of Libyans (61.58%)[6] cast a ballot. However, the election was marred by violence, protests and a number of deaths.[7][8]

Electoral system[edit]

A draft election law was published on 1 January 2012 on the website of the High National Election Commission (HNEC), after which public comments were accepted. The draft law proposed electing 200 representatives, of which at least 10% should be women, unless fewer than 10% of candidates were women. Members of the NTC and Jamahiriya government members, including relatives of Muammar Gaddafi, were barred from running.[9][10]

The second draft abolished the women's quota and allowed local NTC council members to run in the election; it also changed the electoral system from countrywide to constituency-based.[11] Following further protests against restrictions for dual nationals and other issues, the release of the electoral law was again postponed to 28 January 2012.[12] The NTC also sought the input of the Libyan Women's Platform for Peace, who had proposed an alternative electoral law and criticized the official draft on four key points relating to dual nationals, lack of a women's quota, inadequate countermeasures against corruption and the risk of incentivizing tribal party formation.[13][third-party source needed]

A new electoral law was finally drafted on 28–29 January 2012. The election system will be a form of parallel voting, with 64 constituency seats (with independent candidates only) and 136 list seats for party lists. Lists will have to alternate between male and female candidates, in effect ensuring a women's quota. The age required to stand for election was lowered to 21 years, and citizens with dual nationality will be allowed to vote and run in the election.[14][15] Further changes were later made, changing the ratio to 120 constituency seats and 80 list seats, reportedly in an attempt to reduce the Muslim Brotherhood's influence in the new parliament.[16] The 120 constituency seats would be elected from 69 constituencies, whilst the 80 list seats would be elected in 20 constituencies.[17]

Voter registration[edit]

Registration of voters, parties participating in elections and independent candidates started at 1 May, and was due to finish on 14 May. However, following a call for a boycott of the process by the Council of Cyrenaica, which is seeking autonomy for parts of eastern Libya around the city of Benghazi, the deadline was extended until 21 May.[18] In total 2,865,937 voters, or 80% of the estimated 3 million to 3.5 million electorate, registered for the elections.[5] The registration process was supervised by the United Nations Support Mission in Libya.[19]

Minority groups, such as the Tawerghans, who had been accused of supporting former leader Muammar Gaddafi, said that the election was futile as they are marginalised. They also added that voter registration was difficult.[20] Yet about 90 percent of Tawerghans living in Janzour Naval Academy refugee camp registered to vote.[21]


A total of 374 party lists registered to contest the 80 party list seats, together with 2,639 candidates for the 120 constituency seats.[17] The four parties that were expected to dominate the election are the National Front Party, the Justice and Construction Party, the National or Homeland Party and the National Forces Alliance. The National Front Party is linked to the National Front for the Salvation of Libya (NFSL), a former anti-Gaddafi resistance group formed in the 1980s. It is led by Mohamed el-Magariaf, an intellectual based in Eastern Libya. The Justice and Construction Party is the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood in Libya. The Homeland Party is an Islamist party as well, led by the Islamic cleric Ali al-Sallabi and Abdelhakim Belhadj, the former emir of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG). The National Forces Alliance is a liberal umbrella coalition around ex-interim prime minister Mahmoud Jibril, who himself did not run for a seat in the GNC.[22][23]

The Libyan Popular National Movement, a political party supporting the policies of Gaddafi, was banned from participating in the elections.[citation needed]


Voting was disrupted in some parts of the country, with 6% of the 6,629 polling stations unable to open normally.[5][24] However all but eight polling stations managed to open up for voters during the day and the remaining eight, including two in the Kufra area, which had seen clashes between Toubous and government forces, opened the following day.[25] In the Benghazi area a polling station was attacked by activists seeking autonomy for the east of the country and an election official was killed by a gun attack on a helicopter carrying voting materials on the day before the election.[5] In eastern Libya former rebels closed five oil terminals at Brega, Ra's Lanuf and Sidra for 48 hours in an attempt to disrupt the elections.[5][26] In Ajdabiya a pro-federalism protester was shot dead by locals when he tried to steal a ballot box from a polling station.[27] Officials with the HNEC were denied access to Bani Walid by tribal Gaddafi loyalists who control the city, and could not monitor the voting process.[28]

Around 1.7 million of 2.8 million registered voters participated in the elections.[25]


According to first counts, the liberal National Forces Alliance did well in the northern areas except Misrata, whereas the race was more even in the south. The other key contenders were the Islamic Justice and Construction Party, which came in second, and Al-Watan, which in the end won no seats at all.[29]

On 17 July, the High National Election Commission announced provisional results. In the 80 proportional seats, Mahmoud Jibril's National Forces Alliance (NFA) received 48.1%, winning 39 seats. This was followed by the Justice and Construction Party (JCP), which received 10.3% and 17 seats and third was the National Front Party with 4.1% and three seats. The Union for the Homeland and the National Centrist Party also took two seats, as did the Wadi Al-Hayah Party for Democracy and Development. Fifteen other parties won one party list seat each.[30][31]

The affiliation of the 120 independents is obscure but the election for Prime Minister gave some indication: in the first round Mahmoud Jibril (NFA) got 86 votes, Mustafa Abushagur (independent) got 55 votes and Awad Barasi (JCP) got 41 votes.[32] Then Abushagur defeated Jibril with 96 to 94. It is estimated that 25 independents are associated with the NFA, 17 with Justice and Construction, and 23 are Salafis.[33]

Party Proportional Constituency Total
Votes % Seats Votes % Seats
National Forces Alliance 714,769 48.14 39 0 39
Justice and Construction Party 152,441 10.27 17 0 17
National Front 60,592 4.08 3 0 3
Union for Homeland 66,772 4.50 2 0 2
National Centrist Party 59,417 4.00 2 0 2
Wadi Al-Hayah Party 6,947 0.47 2 0 2
Moderate Ummah Assembly 21,825 1.47 1 0 1
Authenticity and Renewal 18,745 1.26 1 0 1
National Party For Development and Welfare 17,158 1.16 1 0 1
Al-Hekma (Wisdom) Party 17,129 1.15 1 0 1
Authenticity and Progress 13,679 0.92 1 0 1
Libyan National Democratic Party 13,092 0.88 1 0 1
National Parties Alliance 12,735 0.86 1 0 1
Ar-Resalah (The Message) 7,860 0.53 1 0 1
Centrist Youth Party 7,319 0.49 1 0 1
Libya Al-'Amal (Libya – The Hope) 6,093 0.41 1 0 1
Labaika National Party 3,472 0.23 1 0 1
Libyan Party for Liberty and Development 2,691 0.18 1 0 1
Arrakeeza (The Foundation) 1,525 0.10 1 0 1
Nation and Prosperity 1,400 0.09 1 0 1
National Party of Wadi ash-Shati' 1,355 0.09 1 0 1
Homeland Party 51,292 3.45 0 0 0
Other parties 218,562 14.72 0 0 0
Independents 120 120
Invalid/blank votes 280,117
Total 1,764,840 100 80 120 200
Registered voters/turnout 2,865,937 61.58
Sources: Libya Herald, POMED, HNEC


  1. ^ "Q&A: Libya's General National Congress election", BBC News, 7 July 2012, archived from the original on 5 July 2012, retrieved 20 June 2018
  2. ^ Libya elections postponed to July 7 Archived 20 October 2013 at the Wayback Machine Gulf News, 11 June 2012
  3. ^ "Libya: Transitional authorities to hold election 19 June", AfriqueJet, 28 April 2012, archived from the original on 7 May 2012, retrieved 1 May 2012
  4. ^ a b c Gumuchian, Marie-Louise, and Hadeel Al Shalchi. "Libyans celebrate free vote despite violence". Reuters. Archived from the original on 9 July 2012. Retrieved 8 July 2012.
  5. ^ a b c d e Libya election: Historic vote amid tensions Archived 24 October 2017 at the Wayback Machine, BBC News, 7 July 2012
  6. ^ "National Congress party results -". www.libyaherald.com. Archived from the original on 23 May 2019. Retrieved 20 July 2014.
  7. ^ "Boycott calls and unrest raise fear of violence on eve of Libya's first election". 6 July 2012. Archived from the original on 25 July 2014. Retrieved 18 July 2014.
  8. ^ "Libyan militia storm election office in Benghazi as violence spreads". The Guardian. Associated Press. 1 July 2012. Archived from the original on 10 May 2017. Retrieved 12 December 2016.
  9. ^ "Libya citizens linked to Muammar Gaddafi can't run in election: draft bill". 2 January 2012. Archived from the original on 22 January 2013. Retrieved 20 July 2014.
  10. ^ "Mahmoud Jibril: From Libya's spokesman to its kingmaker". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 3 September 2017 – via The Globe and Mail.
  11. ^ Holmes, Oliver (20 January 2012), Libya drops election quota for women, Reuters
  12. ^ Libya postpones adopting election law, News24.com, 22 January 2012, archived from the original on 23 January 2012, retrieved 24 January 2012
  13. ^ News Flash: NTC Considering Draft Electoral Law Proposed by Libyan Women’s Platform for Peace, Shabab Libya, 25 January 2012, archived from the original on 26 June 2013, retrieved 25 January 2012
  14. ^ Lamloum, Imed (28 January 2012), Libya's NTC adopts election law, drops women quota, AFP, archived from the original on 29 January 2012, retrieved 11 November 2016
  15. ^ Mo Hong'e (29 January 2012), Libya's NTC announces new electoral law, Xinhua, archived from the original on 6 March 2012, retrieved 30 January 2012
  16. ^ Eljarh, Mohamed (1 February 2012), "The Libyan Elections Law 2012 and the Muslim Brotherhood", Middle East Online, archived from the original on 9 November 2013, retrieved 1 February 2012
  17. ^ a b "Libya elections: Do any of the parties have a plan?". BBC News. 6 July 2012. Archived from the original on 25 August 2012. Retrieved 6 September 2012.
  18. ^ Libya extends voter registration amid boycott call Archived 11 April 2016 at the Wayback Machine Daily Star (Lebanon), 13 May 2012
  19. ^ Final registration count at more than 2.7 million voters Libya Herald, 23 May 2012
  20. ^ Tawerghans cast doubt over Libya election Archived 6 June 2017 at the Wayback Machine Al Jazeera, 3 June 2012
  21. ^ The election at the Tawergha camp in the Janzour Naval Academy, Libya Herald
  22. ^ Coker, Margaret (22 June 2012), "Libya Election Panel Battles Ghosts", The Wall Street Journal, archived from the original on 25 September 2017, retrieved 8 August 2017
  23. ^ Khan, Umar (5 June 2012), "Libya's delayed elections are hard to call", The Guardian, archived from the original on 24 December 2013, retrieved 2 July 2012
  24. ^ Daily statistics from 1 to 21 May 2012 Archived 4 June 2012 at the Wayback Machine, High National Election Commission.
  25. ^ a b Election: 1.7 million Libyans voted; polling continues in 8 centres today Archived 22 August 2019 at the Wayback Machine, Libya Herald, 8 July 2012
  26. ^ Protests and tears of joy mark free Libyan poll Archived 4 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine, Reuters
  27. ^ Libyan anti-poll protester shot dead in clash Archived 3 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine, Reuters
  28. ^ Libyans vote in first election in more than 40 years Archived 22 July 2012 at the Wayback Machine Truth Out
  29. ^ Soguel, Dominique (8 July 2012), Jibril urges unity as Libya wraps up vote count, AFP, archived from the original on 15 August 2012, retrieved 11 November 2016
  30. ^ National Forces Alliance sweeps party lists as election results finally announced, Libya Herald, 17 July 2012.
  31. ^ National Congress Party Results, Libya Herald, 18 July 2012.
  32. ^ "Abushagur elected as Prime Minister -". www.libyaherald.com. Archived from the original on 13 December 2013. Retrieved 4 November 2012.
  33. ^ "Research paper" (PDF). www.swp-berlin.org. Archived (PDF) from the original on 4 September 2018. Retrieved 19 May 2013.

External links[edit]