Libya - Government and Politics

Government and Politics

The National Transitional Council was a political body formed to represent Libya by anti-Gaddafi forces during the Libyan civil war. On 5 March 2011 the council declared itself to be the "sole representative of all Libya". By October 2011 it had become recognized by 100 countries, including France, Qatar, Italy, Germany, Canada, Russia and Turkey. It is also supported by several other Arab and European countries. On 16 September, the United Nations switched its official recognition to the NTC. The council formed an interim governing body, the Executive Board, on 23 March 2011 with Mahmoud Jibril as the Chairman. The United States switched official recognition from the Gaddafi government to the National Transitional Council on 15 July 2011. The United Kingdom followed suit on 27 July 2011, expelling all Libyan government diplomats from the country before accrediting a National Transitional Council envoy to the Libyan Embassy in London.

As the centre of the resistance against Gaddafi during the war, Benghazi, Libya's second largest city, served as the provisional seat for the NTC for the months following its creation. On 25 August 2011, Finance Minister Ali Tarhouni announced that the NTC would move to Tripoli, which it claimed as the de jure capital of Libya, effective immediately. However, as of early September 2011, many of the NTC's offices and ministers, including Chairman Mustafa Abdul Jalil, remained in Benghazi due to the eastern city's more stable security situation and established infrastructure.

On 24 October, NTC Chairman Mustafa Abdul Jalil announced that existing laws that contradicted the teachings of Islam would be nullified, stating that Sharia law would be the basis of legislation. Abdul Jalil outlined several changes to be made including the lifting of restrictions on the number of wives a man can take. On 1 November, the Libyan National Flag was raised above the court house in Benghazi, the court house being of symbolic importance as "the seat of the revolution."

On 7 July 2012, Libyans voted in their first parliamentary elections since the death of Gaddafi and the end of the civil war. The election, in which more than 100 political parties registered, formed an interim 200-member General National Congress. This will replace the unelected National Transitional Council, name a prime minister, and form a committee to draft a constitution. The vote was postponed several times to resolve logistical and technical problems, and to give more time to register to vote, and to investigate candidates. Early results of the vote showed the National Forces Alliance, led by former interim Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril, as front runner.

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