Muammar Gaddafi, who ruled Libya with iron hand for 42 years, was overthrown in 2011, in connection with the riot wave that swept across the region. Three years later, the fragile central power collapsed and the country received two rulers in each part of the country. In practice, short for LY by Abbreviationfinder, Libya is a disintegrating country. Alongside the two rival governments and parliaments, there are a large number of armed militia groups that often act on their own. An agreement was reached at the end of 2015 to form a national unity government, but since then the contradictions have increased again.
At the beginning of the Libyan uprising in 2011 (see Modern History), the National Transition Council was formed by a mixed group of Gaddafi opponents in Benghazi. In September of that year, a few weeks after the conquest of Tripoli, the United Nations General Assembly voted to allow the Council to take Libya’s place in the UN, and the Council subsequently served as the country’s government.
- Countryaah: Total population and chart of Libya for years of 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023 and 2024. Also covers population density, birth rate, death rate and population growth rates.
A temporary constitution was adopted by the Transitional Council and in July 2012 elections were held for a provisional parliament, the National Congress. Of 200 seats, 80 were allocated to political party representatives and 120 to individual candidates. From the beginning, it was intended that the National Congress should write a new constitution, but disagreement over, among other things, the geographical distribution of the places meant that the work was instead assigned to a so-called Constituent Assembly.
In February 2014, the voters were appointed to the 60 members of the Constituent Assembly – 20 each from the country’s three regions: Tripolitania, Cyrenaika and Fezzan. But the congregation has not been given the opportunity to carry out the work in port.
Despite the lack of a constitution, in June 2014 elections were held for a new parliament, which is usually called the House of Representatives (actually the Arabic name means “deputy council”). In that election, according to the current electoral law, all candidates stood as independent candidates, without formal ties to political parties or groupings.
But the members of the newly elected House of Representatives were forced to flee the capital and gathered instead in Tobruk (Tubruq) in eastern Libya. Islamist groups took control of Tripoli and retained parts of the old National Congress. Then the country had two parliaments. In March 2016, the UN-backed unity government went to Tripoli, which meant that the country had three governments in practice.
Since then, developments have gone in that direction, via the battlefield, that the main actors in Libya are the UN-backed but pressured government in Tripoli and an alternative regime in the east under the expansive General Haftar, who with his allies controls Tobruk and Benghazi, and in addition the main oil fields with wiring harness. There are not only two parliaments and two central banks, but also an increasingly divided state administration and military apparatus fighting each other. The two camps rely on different neighboring countries and major powers. The UN peacekeeping efforts have been about trying to persuade counterparties to make peace, form a unifying government and allow the people to appoint new governors through a democratic process.
The lack of democratic bodies also prevailed under Gaddafi’s rule. At that time, Libyan politics was completely dominated by Gaddafi himself. All power lay with him and his inner circle of relatives and security chiefs. The most important security forces were recruited from particularly favored tribes from western and central Libya, but Gaddafi had also secured some popular support by spreading the income of the country’s oil industry across the country. The opposition was weak, mainly because of the brutal police state, but also because most Libyans were government employees and unwillingly risked their jobs by challenging the regime. Muammar Gaddafi presented the principles for his peculiar political system in “The Green Book”, an ideological publication published in three parts from 1975 to 1979 (see Modern History).
In the 2012 elections, 21 parties got a seat in Parliament, but only two parties received more than a single mandate. The biggest was the liberal and predominantly secular National Forces Alliance (in English abbreviated to NFA), led by Mahmud Jibril, former Prime Minister of the Transitional Council. Jibril died in 2020 in the covid-19 pandemic.
Second largest was the Justice and Construction Party (English abbreviation JCP), formed by the International Islamic Movement, the Libyan branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. The Muslim Brotherhood was strongly oppressed by Gaddafi, but after the upheavals had begun to reorganize the country.
Several other Islamist politicians have been significant since the fall of the Gaddafi regime. Many of the Islamists are said to receive money and support from Qatar and other financiers in the Persian Gulf, while rival groups, in turn, appear to enjoy support from, for example, the United States or France.
The UN-backed government in Tripoli has its main ally in Turkey, while General Haftar in the east is backed by Russia, among others.