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Libya

Yearbook 2012

Libya. The year was marked by progress on the road to democracy but also by bloody clashes between different militia groups. In the elections for a transitional parliament on July 7, 200 seats were at stake, 80 of them reserved for party-linked candidates and 120 for independence. The Liberal National Forces Alliance (NFA), largely a continuation of the National Transitional Council (NTC) that has ruled Libya since the 2011 revolution, became the largest party with 39 of the party mandates. The Muslim Brotherhood's Justice and Reconciliation Party took 17 party mandates, fewer than expected.

2012 Libya

The choice was on the whole free, fair and peaceful. Of those entitled to vote, 83% registered, and 62% of them were reported to have voted. Under a new electoral law, the parties would launch an equal number of candidates from each gender; yet only 33 women got seats in parliament. The task of Parliament was to formulate laws and form a government, but not, as initially planned, to appoint the body that would draft a new constitution - this body would instead be appointed in a separate election.

In September, the new Prime Minister elected Mustafa Abu Shagur, a recognized al-Khaddafikrit optics engineer. However, he failed to form a government and the mission passed on to Ali Zidan, an old diplomat who had resigned from the al-Khaddafi regime in 1980. He succeeded on October 31 to get Parliament's support for a government with ministers from both major parties.

According to countryaah, the country was a patchwork of revelry for more than a thousand different clan-based militia groups equipped with an abundance of small arms. Most of the groups had their origins in the revolt in 2011. Some of them managed to establish reasonably calm in the area they controlled and some of the larger groups were also subordinate to the Interior Ministry. Others were led by warlords who ruled with force and made big money on the smuggling of gasoline, drugs and people. There were also a few units loyal to the fallen regime, including in the town of Bani Walid southeast of Tripoli.

In Cyrenaika, the region around Benghazi in eastern Libya where the 2011 uprising began, clan leaders announced in March that they wanted to form their own state within a Libyan federation, something the NTC immediately rejected. Four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens, were killed on September 11 in an attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi. The Libyan government accused the Ansar al-Sharia jihadist group of being behind the act.

In January, UN refugee commissioner Navi Pillay explained that as many as 8,000 al-Khaddah refugees were held by militia groups in different places. Among them was al-Khaddafi's eldest son Saif al-Islam, held by a group in the city of Zintan in the south and requested extradition by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague for crimes against humanity. Former intelligence chief and Prime Minister Abdullah al-Senussi was arrested in Mauritania in March and released after tough negotiations with Libya in September. In May, the Libyan government asked the ICC to bring both Saif al-Islam and al-Senussi to trial in Libya. Saif al-Islam announced that he would rather be handed over to the ICC.

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