"Libya's experiment in democracy has taken another unexpected turn. On the surface, the elections to the General National Congress (GNC) last July produced a surprising victory for the "liberal" National Forces Alliance (NFA) and a fairly resounding defeat for the Muslim Brotherhood's Justice and Construction party.
But when those political parties were unable to forge a national unity government, that picture changed. It became inevitable that locally elected independents, who form the majority of the Congress, would come to the fore.
On 12 September, the NFA saw its prime ministerial candidate, Mahmoud Jibril, defeated by two votes in favour of Mustafa Abushagur, the outgoing deputy prime minister.
Abushagur seemed to be a compromise candidate. He enjoyed a reputation as a good manager with moderate Islamist leanings but without party affiliation. All elements of the "anyone but Jibril" camp rallied around him: Cyrenaicans and Tripolitanians, Muslim Brothers and Misratans with loyalties to their homegrown militias. It seemed then that Abushagur was just the man to cobble together a coalition of Libya's many factions.
And yet, when he presented his first cabinet list, it featured unexpected members of the outgoing transitional government, lacked a single candidate from the NFA, contained unknown quantities for key posts including the oil ministry, … and furthermore, it was apparent that Abushagur's allies were favoured. (...)