So it turns out that Islamists may have a majority in Libya’s new legislature after all:
Libya’s Islamists said on Tuesday they should be able to control the new national congress through alliances with like-minded independents even though liberals appear to be doing well in seats reserved for parties.
I find it interesting that these results seem to undermine a lot of the Libyan election commentary we’ve seen for the last few days. Everyone seemed very eager to conclude that Islamists had not prevailed, as if the outcome of one election one way or the other would have told us very much about post-war Libya. If one judges by the absurdly low standards of post-invasion Iraq or compares the outcome to some of the more hysterical anti-jihadist predictions, it is impossible not to be satisfied. It isn’t necessarily a disaster for Libya if there is an Islamist majority, but it’s the premature celebrations of “liberal” and “secular” success that generate so much skepticism about these democratic transitions when they end up producing different outcomes.
Let’s not forget that the Malian presidential election was supposed to have taken place in April, but it was short-circuited by the coup earlier this year. That coup was caused by the success of the Tuareg rebellion strengthened by the influx of weapons and fighters from Libya. Let’s also not forget the real empowerment of Islamists in northern Mali that has already happened in part because of the effects of the Libyan war.
P.S. Marc Lynch makes a good point that we can all heed regarding the Libyan election and other unfolding events:
It’s very non-Twitter, but I do wish people would wait for actual Libya election results before analyzing their meaning.