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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Gaddafi Dead. What Next For Democracy in Libya?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-15397812

The announcement of Gaddafi's death did not come to me as a cause for joy. No man's death is a joy to a person with a sense of humanity. The end of tyranny is joyful, yes, but a human's end is no time for popping champagne and giving high-fives.

The most important question isn't how Gaddafi died, but what will become of Libya now. Continue Reading This Article>>>

It is fast approaching a year since the Arab Spring showed the world the deep yearning Arabs have for freedom from puppet regimes the Arabs have, and the sincerity of their long quest for democracy. Yet democracy is yet to appear in any of the nations in the regime which have experienced an uprising.

What next for the Libyan people, now that a 42-year old dictatorship has fallen?

Acting prime minister, Mahmoud Jibril, has laid out these seven aims of the National Transitional Council:

The "Declaration of the founding of the Transitional National Council" states the main aims of the council are as follows:
  • Ensure the safety of the national territory and citizens
  • Coordination of national efforts to liberate the rest of Libya
  • Support the efforts of local councils to work for the restoration of normal civilian life
  • Supervision of the Military Council to ensure the achievement of the new doctrine of the Libyan People's Army in the defense of the people and to protect the borders of Libya.
  • Facilitate the election of a constituent assembly to draft a new constitution for the country; be put to a popular referendum
  • Form a transitional government to pave the holding of free elections
  • Guide the conduct of foreign policy, and the regulation of relations with other countries and international and regional organizations, and the representation of the Libyan people
Further to these, the NTC has an eight-point "plan" for democratic elections.

NTC's website http://www.ntclibya.com/Default.aspx?SID=1&ParentID=0&LangID=1

What I find most worrying about this transition is the absolute lack of clear, transparent information concerning its enactment. The website is jam-packed with information on Gaddafi's brutality and full of earnest references to the aims of the NTC, yet just as with every other transitional government in the Arab Spring, it is virtually impossible to get a fixed date on these elections.

There is virtually no chance of there being a military dictatorship in Libya akin to that which we see in Egypt; Libya's army is now firmly in the control of civilian government, yet until some semblance of normality is declared in Libya we won't be seeing free and fair elections in that country for quite some time.

But let's not rush to panic over this; the Libyan people can now finally sleep at night without worrying about being arrested and tortured on trumped up charges of insurrection or treason. That much deserves applauding and whatever problems Libya faces in the coming days I feel more certain of democracy occurring in the new Libya than I do for any other Arab nation. Libya is a totally non-sectarian, non-radicalised nation without any recent history of religious observance along the lines one sees in other Arab nations.

There won't be an Iraq-style meltdown in Libya; Libyan society has no interest in Islamic fundamentalism and never has had.

A great deal is expected of Mahmoud Jabril. He stands in a unique position to bring democracy to an Arab nation in the shortest period of time. It is to be seen whether he seizes the opportunity with both hands.

Let us hope that he does.



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