Libya's Jibril calls for grand coalition
Libya's wartime rebel prime minister Mahmoud Jibril called for the some 150 political parties in the North African nation to back the creation of a grand coalition government as election results were expected yesterday.
Joyful Libyans turned out in large numbers on Saturday for a largely peaceful national assembly election, their first free national poll after 42 years of Muammar Gaddafi which went ahead despite widespread fears of violence.
First official results were due yesterday and Jibril declined comment on speculation his own National Forces Alliance (NFA) of around 60 parties was leading Islamic groups including the political wing of Libya's Muslim Brotherhood.
"We extend an honest call for a national dialogue to come altogether in one coalition, under one banner ... This is an honest and sincere call for all political parties operating today in Libya," Jibril said.
"In yesterday's election there was no loser or winner ... Whoever wins, Libya is the real winner," he told a late-night news conference on Sunday.
Jibril is a fluent English-speaker who was the main point man of the rebel National Transitional Council (NTC) with Western backers including France, Britain and the United States.
He rejected descriptions of the NFA as secular and liberal, saying a commitment to tenets of Islamic law was among its core principles - a comment which could facilitate efforts to form ties with more overtly Islamist parties.
"The door is open to dialogue now for all Libyans," Ali Rhouma El-Sibai, head of the hardline Islamic Al-Assala Group told Reuters. "But no agreement is possible until we know what is on the table. We cannot compromise our principles."
No comment was available from the Justice and Construction Party, political wing of the local counterpart of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood. Al-Watan, an group led by former rebel militia leader Abdel Hakim Belhadj, said it was studying the call.
If such a grand coalition were formed it would inevitably dominate the new 200-head assembly for which Libyans voted on Saturday and whose tasks include naming a prime minister and cabinet to serve before full parliamentary polls due in 2013.