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Are Libyans abandoning democracy in search of stability?

More and more democratically elected governments in Libyan localities are being replaced by military rule.
Soldiers from the National Army of Cyrenaica take part in a military parade graduation ceremony in Benghazi March 3, 2012. REUTERS/Esam Al-Fetori (LIBYA - Tags: POLITICS MILITARY) - RTR2YSN6

It has been nearly five years since Libyan leader Col. Moammar Gadhafi was captured and killed by Libyan rebels near his hometown of Sirte on Oct. 20, 2011. Sadly, Libya remains a deeply divided country, both politically and institutionally, and does not have a functional representative government in place. Tragically, Libya’s democratic transition process failed to create an environment conducive for democracy and the rule of law. Instead, Libya became a country where militias ruled, extremist groups flourished and living conditions deteriorated significantly. The country also suffers from a major political crisis, with various competing governments each claiming legitimacy and control over key institutions such as the Central Bank, the National Oil Corporation and the Libyan Investment Authority.

Today, Libyans are forced to choose between two extremes: either chaos with militias and Islamist extremists as the dominant forces, or military rule. No other convincing options are on offer. The choice is quite clear in Libya’s eastern region of Cyrenaica (Barqa in Arabic), where the military is now the dominant armed and political force on the ground, expanding its control over democratically elected and civilian institutions without any public opposition and with clear public support for their actions. On June 19, the president of the Libyan parliament in Tobruk, in his claimed capacity as supreme commander of the armed forces, declared a state of emergency and appointed the Libyan National Army Chief of Staff Abdulrazaq Nadori as military governor for the eastern region. Nadori now has the power to appoint civilian and military committees and can replace local municipal councils with military governors. He also can prohibit demonstrations that do not have prior written consent from his office.

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