Politics of Libya Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Politics_of_Libya

The politics of Libya is in an uncertain state due to the collapse of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya in 2011 and a recent civil war between the House of Representatives in Tobruk and its supporters, the New General National Congress in Tripoli and its supporters, and various jihadists and tribal elements controlling parts of the country.[1] On 10 March 2021, a national unity government unifying the Second Al-Thani Cabinet of the House of Representatives and the Government of National Accord was formed, which will hold power until the next Libyan general election is held.

Libyan Political Agreement (2015)[edit]

Members of the House of Representatives and the New General National Congress signed a political agreement on 18 December 2015.[2] Under the terms of the agreement, a nine-member Presidential Council and a seventeen-member interim Government of National Accord was formed, with a view to holding new elections within two years.[2] The House of Representatives would continue to exist as a legislature and an advisory body, to be known as the State Council, was formed with members nominated by the New General National Congress.[3]

House of Representatives[edit]

The House of Representatives was formed following June 2014 elections, when the General National Congress formed as a transitional body after the Libyan Revolution dissolved. However, Islamists fared poorly in the low-turnout elections,[4] and members of the Islamist-led GNC reconvened in August 2014, refusing to recognise the new parliament dominated by secularist and federalist lawmakers.[5] Supporters of the New General National Congress swiftly seized control of Tripoli, Libya's constitutional capital, forcing the newly elected parliament into virtual exile in Tobruk, near the Egyptian border.[6] The House of Representatives enjoys widespread international recognition as Libya's official government. However, the Tripoli-based Supreme Court declared it illegal and voided the results of the election in November 2014. The court ruling was hailed by the GNC and its backers, but it was rejected as invalid by the House of Representatives and its loyalists.[7][8]

Against this backdrop of division, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and Ansar al-Sharia, as well as other militant groups both religious and tribal in nature, have seized control of several cities and districts across Libya, especially in Cyrenaica, which is theoretically under the control of the Tobruk-based government.[9][10][11] A number of commentators have described Libya as a failed state or suggested it is on the verge of failure.[12][13][14][15]

General National Congress[edit]

The General National Congress (also translated as General National Council[16]) was the legislative authority of Libya. It was elected by popular vote on 7 July 2012, and from 8 August replaced the National Transitional Council that had governed the country since the end of the Libyan Civil War.[17][18][19] The General National Congress was composed of 200 members of which 80 were elected through a party list system of proportional representation, and 120 were elected as independents in multiple-member districts.[20][21]

The executive branch was appointed by the GNC and led by the Prime Minister, while the President of the GNC was the de facto head of state, though not explicitly described as such in the Declaration.[22]

The main responsibility of the GNC was to form a constituent assembly which would write Libya's permanent constitution, for approval by a referendum. The law of Libya is based on sharia.[23]

On 30 March 2014, the General National Congress voted to replace itself with a new House of Representatives. The new legislature would allocate 30 seats for women, would have 200 seats overall (with individuals able to run as members of political parties) and allow Libyans of foreign nationalities to run for office.[24] While elections were held and lawmakers took office, the former General National Congress rejected the results and reconvened in opposition to the new parliament, which now meets in the eastern Libyan city of Tobruk.[7]

In early December 2015 both parliaments, the GNC and the House of Representatives, agreed a declaration of principles calling for the formation of a joint ten-person committee to name an interim prime minister and two deputies, leading to new elections within two years.[25]

Changes after the 2011 Civil War[edit]

Political parties were banned in Libya from 1972 until the removal of Gaddafi's government, and all elections were nonpartisan under law. However, during the revolution, the National Transitional Council (NTC), a body formed on 27 February 2011 by anti-Gaddafi forces to act as the "political face of the revolution", made the introduction of multiparty democracy a cornerstone of its agenda. In June 2011, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi said his father would agree to internationally monitored general elections, and would step down if he lost them, but his offer was refused by the rebels and ignored by the UN Security Council.[26]

On 8 March, the NTC issued a statement in which it declared itself to be the "sole representative all over Libya".[27] The council formed an interim governing body on 23 March. As of 20 October 100 countries declared full support to the council by severing all relations with Gaddafi's rule and recognizing the National Transitional Council as the rightful representative of Libya.

On 3 August 2011, the NTC issued a Constitutional Declaration which declared the statehood of Libya as a democracy with Islam as its state religion, in which the state guarantees the rule of law and an independent judiciary as well as civic and human basic rights (including freedom of religion and women's rights), and which contains provisions for a phase of transition to a presidential republic with an elected national assembly and a democratically legitimized constitution by 2013. Vice Chairman Abdul Hafiz Ghoga declared Libya to be "liberated" on 23 October 2011, announcing an official end to the war. Chairman Mustafa Abdul Jalil said Libya would become an Islamic democracy in the wake of Gaddafi's death, though the extent of Islamic law's influence would be determined by elected lawmakers.[28] Ghoga later confirmed that Libya will continue to adhere to all international agreements to which it was signatory prior to the uprising.[29]

On 7 July 2012 an election was held for the General National Congress (GNC) to replace the NTC. There were 2,501 candidates for the 200 seats - 136 for political parties and 64 for independent candidates. About 300 candidates' views were considered unacceptable and removed from candidates list, suspected of sympathizing with the defeated forces of the Jamahiriya. Accreditation centers have also been organized in European cities with larger Libyan communities like Berlin and Paris, in order to allow Libyan nationals there to cast their vote.[30] On 8 August 2012 the NTC officially dissolved and transferred power to the General National Congress.

Political parties and elections[edit]

On 7 July 2012, the Legislative body – the General National Congress – was elected.

List of parties with seats in the General National Congress[edit]

List of parties without seats in the General National Congress[edit]

  • Libyan Popular National Movement
  • Democratic Party
  • Homeland Party[32][33]
  • Party of Reform and Development[34]
  • Libyan Constitutional Union
  • Libyan Amazigh Congress
  • Alhaq and Democracy Party of Benghazi
  • Libyan National Congress Party
  • New Libya Party
  • National Unity of Libya Party
  • Freedom and Development Party of Libya
  • The Patriotic Reform Party
  • National Solidarity Party
  • The Libyan National Party
  • Umma Party
  • Justice and Democracy Party of Libya
  • Libya Future Party
  • Libyan Center Party
  • National Democratic Assembly for Justice and Progress
  • Libya Development Party
  • Libyan Universal Party
  • National Democratic Alliance
  • New National Congress Party
  • Tawasul Party
  • Libyan National Democratic Party for Justice and Development
  • Libya Our Home and Tribe Party
  • Libyan Liberation Party
  • Libya for All Party
  • Popular Front for the Liberation of Libya
  • Unity Movement
  • Democratic Youth Party
  • National Democratic Assembly
  • Wefaq Party
  • Libyan National Democratic Assemblage
  • Ansar Al Horria
  • Libyan Unionist Party[35]

International organization participation[edit]

The National Transitional Council has pledged to honour Libya's international commitments until the 2012 elections.


Libyan politics under Muammar Gaddafi[edit]

After originally rising to power through a military coup d'état in 1969, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's governance of Libya became increasingly centric on the teachings of his Green Book, which he published in the mid-1970s chapter by chapter as a foundation for a new form of government.[36] This jamahiriya, as he called it, was supposedly a form of direct democracy in which power was balanced between a General People's Congress, consisting of 2,700 representatives of Basic People's Congresses, and an executive General People's Committee, headed by a General Secretary, who reported to the Prime Minister and the President. However, Gaddafi retained virtually all power, continuing to operate and control vestiges of the military junta put in place in 1969.

Wanted figures[edit]

Interpol on 4 March 2011 issued a security alert concerning the "possible movement of dangerous individuals and assets" based on United Nations Security Council Resolution 1970, which imposed a travel ban and asset freeze. The warning lists Gaddafi himself and 15 key members of his government:[37]

  1. Muammar Gaddafi: Responsibility for ordering repression of demonstrations, human rights abuses. *Killed 20 October 2011 in Sirte*
  2. Dr. Baghdadi Mahmudi: Head of the Liaison Office of the Revolutionary Committees. Revolutionary Committees involved in violence against demonstrators.
  3. Abuzed Omar Dorda: Director, External Security Organisation. Government loyalist. Head of external intelligence agency.
  4. Major General Abu-Bakr Yunis Jabr: Defense Minister. Overall responsibility for actions of armed forces.
  5. Ayesha Gaddafi: Daughter of Muammar Gaddafi. Closeness of association with government.
  6. Hannibal Muammar Gaddafi: Son of Muammar Gaddafi. Closeness of association with government.
  7. Mutassim Gaddafi: National Security Adviser. Son of Muammar Gaddafi. Closeness of association with government
  8. Al-Saadi Gaddafi: Commander Special Forces. Son of Muammar Gaddafi. Closeness of association with government. Command of military units involved in repression of demonstrations.
  9. Saif al-Islam Gaddafi: Director, Gaddafi Foundation. Son of Muammar Gaddafi. Closeness of association with government. Inflammatory public statements encouraging violence against demonstrators.
  10. Abdulqader Yusef Dibri: Head of Muammar Gaddafi's personal security. Responsibility for government security. History of directing violence against dissidents.
  11. Matuq Mohammed Matuq: Secretary for Utilities. Senior member of government. Involvement with Revolutionary Committees. Past history of involvement in suppression of dissent and violence.
  12. Sayyid Mohammed Qadhaf Al-dam: Cousin of Muammar Gaddafi. In the 1980s, Sayyid was involved in the dissident assassination campaign and allegedly responsible for several deaths in Europe. He is also thought to have been involved in arms procurement.
  13. Khamis Gaddafi: Son of Muammar Gaddafi. Closeness of association with government. Command of military units involved in repression of demonstrations.
  14. Muhammad Gaddafi: Son of Muammar Gaddafi. Closeness of association with government.
  15. Saif al-Arab Gaddafi: Son of Muammar Gaddafi. Closeness of association with government.
  16. Colonel Abdullah Senussi: Director Military Intelligence. Military Intelligence involvement in suppression of demonstrations. Past history includes suspicion of involvement in Abu Selim prison massacre. Convicted in absentia for bombing of UTA flight. Brother-in-law of Muammar Gaddafi.

The NTC has been in negotiations with Algeria and Niger, neighboring countries to which members of the government and defecting military commanders have fled, attempting to secure the arrest and extradition of Al-Saadi Gaddafi and others.[38]

Of these officials, Baghdadi Mahmudi and Abuzed Omar Dorda were arrested,[39][40] while Saif al-Arab Gaddafi was killed by a NATO airstrike during the war,[41] Khamis Gaddafi was killed in action after the fall of Tripoli,[42] and Muammar and Mutassim Gaddafi, as well as Abu-Bakr Yunis Jabr, were killed during the fall of Sirte.[43]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Pelham, Nicolas (February 2015). "Libya Against Itself". The New York Review of Books. Retrieved 18 February 2015.
  2. ^ a b Kingsley, Patrick (17 December 2015). "Libyan politicians sign UN peace deal to unify rival governments". the Guardian.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 11 February 2017. Retrieved 10 February 2017.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ Fetouri, Mustafa (30 June 2014). "Poor election turnout sign of Libya's despair". Al-Monitor. Retrieved 18 February 2015.
  5. ^ "Libya's outgoing parliament elects PM". 25 August 2014. Retrieved 18 February 2015.
  6. ^ "Libyan capital under Islamist control after Tripoli airport seized". The Guardian. 24 August 2014. Retrieved 18 February 2015.
  7. ^ a b "Libya faces chaos as top court rejects elected assembly". Reuters. 6 November 2014. Retrieved 18 February 2015.
  8. ^ "Libyan parliament defies supreme court ruling". Al Arabiya. 6 November 2014. Retrieved 18 February 2015.
  9. ^ Benotman, Noman (24 October 2014). "Libya has become the latest Isil conquest". The Telegraph. Retrieved 18 February 2015.
  10. ^ "Baghdadi vs. Zawahri: Battle for Global Jihad". U.S. News and World Report. 1 December 2014. Retrieved 18 February 2015.
  11. ^ Moore, Jack (29 January 2015). "Al-Qaeda 'Islamic Police' on Patrol in Libyan City Contested With ISIS". Newsweek. Retrieved 18 February 2015.
  12. ^ "Libya's government holed up in a 1970s hotel". BBC News. 16 October 2014. Retrieved 18 February 2015.
  13. ^ "The next failed state". The Economist. 10 January 2015. Retrieved 18 February 2015.
  14. ^ Murray, Rebecca (16 February 2015). "Libya anniversary: 'The situation is just terrible'". Al Jazeera. Retrieved 18 February 2015.
  15. ^ Anderson, Jon Lee (23 February 2015). "The Unravelling". The New Yorker. Retrieved 18 February 2015.
  16. ^ "Libya — Majlis Al-Nuwaab (House of Representatives)". Inter-Parliamentary Union. 21 February 2017. Archived from the original on 28 January 2018. Retrieved 19 May 2019.
  17. ^ Michel Cousins (24 July 2012). "National Congress to meet on 8 August: NTC". Libya Herald. Retrieved 26 July 2012.
  18. ^ "NTC to Transfer Power to Newly-Elected Libyan Assembly August 8". Tripoli Post. 2 August 2012. Archived from the original on 7 August 2012. Retrieved 4 August 2012.
  19. ^ Esam Mohamed (8 August 2012). "Libya's transitional rulers hand over power". Boston.com. Associated Press. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
  20. ^ "Libya elections: Do any of the parties have a plan?". BBC News. 6 July 2012. Retrieved 6 September 2012.
  21. ^ Margaret Coker (22 June 2012). "Libya Election Panel Battles Ghosts". The Wall Street Journal.
  22. ^ "Libya leader Magarief vows to disband illegal militias". BBC News. 23 September 2013. Retrieved 6 January 2013. Mr Magarief, the parliamentary speaker who acts as head of state until elections next year.
  23. ^ "Libya assembly votes for Sharia law". www.aljazeera.com.
  24. ^ "Congress votes to replace itself with new House of Representatives". Libya Herald. 30 March 2014. Retrieved 1 April 2014.
  25. ^ "Rival Libyan lawmakers sign proposal for peace deal". Yahoo. Reuters. 6 December 2015. Retrieved 7 December 2015.
  26. ^ "Rebels dismiss election offer, NATO pounds Tripoli". Reuters. 16 June 2011. Retrieved 18 September 2011.
  27. ^ "Ferocious battles in Libya as national council meets for first time". NewsCore. 6 March 2011. Archived from the original on 22 August 2019. Retrieved 6 March 2011.
  28. ^ "Libya declares 'liberation,' path to elections, constitution". Los Angeles Times. 23 October 2011. Retrieved 23 October 2011.
  29. ^ "Sun, 23 Oct 2011, 17:09 GMT+3 - Libya". Al Jazeera Blogs. Retrieved 23 October 2011.
  30. ^ High National Election Commission: Press Release 16. June 2012 Archived 4 October 2015 at the Wayback Machine
  31. ^ "Libyan Election Party List Results: Seats Per Party by District" (PDF). POMED. Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 June 2013. Retrieved 29 May 2013.
  32. ^ Beaumont, Peter (3 December 2011), "Political Islam poised to dominate the new world bequeathed by Arab spring", The Guardian, retrieved 31 January 2012
  33. ^ Spencer, Richard (19 November 2011), "Libyan cleric announces new party on lines of 'moderate' Islamic democracy", The Telegraph, retrieved 31 January 2012
  34. ^ "First Islamist party emerges in Libya". Hurriyet Daily News. 11 January 2012. Retrieved 25 January 2012.
  35. ^ Federalists launch political party, 1 August 2012, retrieved 2 August 2012
  36. ^ Country Profile: Libya (PDF). Library of Congress Federal Research Division (April 2005). Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  37. ^ Interpol File No.: 2011/108/OS/CCC Archived 23 December 2012 at the Wayback Machine, 4 March 2011.
  38. ^ "NTC Demands Niger Returns Saadi, Officials from Al Qathafi Regime". Tripoli Post. 16 September 2011. Archived from the original on 20 March 2012. Retrieved 18 September 2011.
  39. ^ "Former Libyan PM arrested, jailed in Tunisia". Taipei Times. 24 September 2011. Retrieved 25 September 2011.
  40. ^ MacLean, William (11 September 2011). "Exclusive: Gaddafi spy chief Dorda arrested". Reuters. Retrieved 18 September 2011.
  41. ^ "Saif al-Arab: A playboy known for his hard-living ways". London. The Independent. 2 May 2011. Retrieved 18 September 2011.
  42. ^ "Gaddafi's feared son Khamis 'confirmed dead', claims NTC". The Daily Telegraph. London. The Telegraph. 4 September 2011. Retrieved 18 September 2011.
  43. ^ El Gamal, Rania (23 October 2011). "Clues to Gaddafi's death concealed from public view". Reuters. Retrieved 23 October 2011.

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