Tripoli: Libya's electoral commission on Tuesday began unveiling preliminary results for the nation's first free polls, with the liberal National Forces Alliance (NFA) ahead in two western constituencies.

But the NFA scored a blistering defeat in the city of Misrata, where party party candidates were vying for four seats in the 200 member national assembly, and came fourth with only 6,561 of votes.

It trailed behind the Union for the Homeland, a small party led by a local politician, which scooped 20,606 votes.

The Muslim Brotherhood's Justice and Construction Party came in second in Misrata with 17,165 of the votes and the National Front, an Islamist party, third with 11,537 votes.

Following elections for a national assembly, the first free vote since the ouster of Muammar Gaddafi, the commission is releasing results constituency by constituency in a process that will take at least four days.

In Janzur, a suburb of the capital, which will have three seats in the assembly, the liberal NFA coalition scored a crushing victory with 26,798 votes against 2,423 for second place Justice and Construction Party.

The coalition also had a clear lead in the city of Zliten, near Misrata, with 19,273 votes against 5,626 for the Justice and Construction Party, after 74 per cent of bulletins were counted.

"It is a complex tallying process," said John Stremlau of the Carter Centre which had a team of 45 observers fanned out across the country, except in the south, due to security concerns.

The electoral commission operated 1,453 polling centres across 72 districts nationwide and has centralised the tallying process in the capital where it is providing regular updates to the electorate.

The process is far from over but preliminary reports and figures suggest that Libya could buck the trend in North Africa where post Arab Spring elections ushered Islamists to power in Egypt and Tunisia, but not in Algeria.

A total of 80 seats in the national assembly are reserved for party candidates and 120 are open to individual representatives, many of whom have close ties to the larger parties. (AFP)


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