Skip to main content

Libyans Fear for Their Future In Rocky Transition to Democracy

Libyans are split on whether the fragile transition will lead to better days, or further instability and strife, reports Eileen Byrne from Tripoli. She visited Tripoli as a guest of the Libyan Culture Ministry's Media Development Centre, which paid for her accommodation there during its First International Media Forum.
A man wearing a T-shirt bearing a flag of the Emirate of Cyrenaica (C) attends a protest demanding federal governance and a branch of the National Oil Corporation to be set up in the country's second-largest city, in Benghazi November 26, 2012. Libya's National Oil Corporation (NOC) is reviewing a proposal for a Benghazi branch as officials contend with opposition by NOC staff in Tripoli versus protests and threats of output cuts by workers in the oil-rich east who want more control there. Benghazi was the

TRIPOLI — Libya today is at the crossroads between a rocky process of transition to democracy and the real chance of collapse of state structures and rising violence. The next six months will be crucial, say analysts based in the country. The optimists see the elected government gradually extending its reach nationwide, as ex-militiamen continue either to return to civilian life, or to be absorbed into the police and army.

Political leadership will be key, as will a willingness by Libyans to work together in ways they had little experience of doing under a dictatorship. The legacy of distrust left by the Gadhafi regime hangs heavily over this nation of 6.7 million people, and the intensity of its post-revolutionary drama makes developments in next-door Tunisia look sedate by comparison.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.