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Obama Congratulates Libya for Elections

6:05 PM, Jul 8, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
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President Obama issued the following statement, congratulating Libya for holding elections yesterday:

Obama in Cairo

Obama in Cairo

"On behalf of the American people, I extend my congratulations to the people of Libya for another milestone on their extraordinary transition to democracy. After more than 40 years in which Libya was in the grip of a dictator, today’s historic election underscores that the future of Libya is in the hands of the Libyan people. Across Libya today, voters turned out to exercise their hard-earned freedoms, most participating in an election for the first time in their lives. They cast ballots for representatives of a National Congress that will lead the next stage of Libya’s transition.

"The United States is proud of the role that we played in supporting the Libyan revolution and protecting the Libyan people, and we look forward to working closely with the new Libya – including the elected Congress and Libya’s new leaders. We will engage as partners as the Libyan people work to build open and transparent institutions, establish security and the rule of law, advance opportunity, and promote unity and national reconciliation. There are still difficult challenges ahead and voting needs to be completed in some areas. As they begin this new chapter, the Libyan people can count on the continued friendship and support of the United States."

The New York Times reports on the preliminary outcome of the Libyan elections: 

A coalition led by a Western-educated political scientist appeared on Sunday to be beating Islamist parties in Libya’s first election of the post-Qaddafi era, standing apart from an overwhelming Islamist wave sweeping across neighboring Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco in the aftermath of the Arab Spring uprisings.

The preliminary results, characterized by independent monitors and party representatives who witnessed the vote count for a new national assembly, may reflect the relative novelty of political debate here as well as the reputation and tribal connections of the coalition’s founder, Mahmoud Jibril. He is a member of Libya’s most populous tribe, the Warfalla, as well as the former interim prime minister who helped lead the de facto rebel government in Benghazi.

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