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, 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.
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
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.