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Index / Political situation /
Open map of LibyaFlag of LibyaLibya /
Political situation

Heads of state
King Idris 1951-1969
Mu'ammar Gadhafi 1969-

Libya is politically stable, even if there have been some recent tensions between foreign workers and Libyan authorities. There has also been several attempts on Mu'ammar Gadhafi's life.
From 2011, during the revolt that began in Benghazi, two of Gadhafi's sons emerged as leaders of two seperate politics for Libya's future: the reformist Seif al-Islam and the more conservative Mutassim.
Libya has no democracy, and no political parties. There is some freedom of speech, but this often finds room where the police doesn't reach with their control.
Libya is defined as a jamahiriya, which is a word resembling the word for 'republic', 'jumhuriyya'. Jamahiriya involves a system of councils where all citizens are promised the right to express their opinions.
The jamahiriya is organized into 186 basic people's administrative congresses. These address 46 municipal administrative units.
The basic idea of the jamahiriya system is popular influence and responsibility, through a system of direct influence in a pyramidical system. Representatives to higher institutions are elected by the members of the basic congresses. The real leader of the jamahiriya is colonel Mu'ammaru Gadhafi, who exercises close to unlimited power, but do this without having any official titles.
It is hard to estimate what support Gadhafi has in the Libyan population. Even if there have been coup attempts both from other military groups and from Islamists in Libya, these don't necessarily represent the general public opinion.
Many observers believe that Gadhafi enjoys relatively wide popularity in most of Libya. The reason for this popularity is both a politics that have attempted to divide the benefits from Libya's wealth evenly between the urban and the rural areas. But heavy government control over the press has also helped with presenting a positive image of Gadhafi to the public. Still, Libya allows the use of satellite dishes, which has given the Libyan population access to a wide range of alternative channels, which often present another image of Gadhafi.
There is room for limited opposition in Libya, as long as fundamental aspects of the Libyan construction remains unquestioned: The Libyan revolution, the concept of the jamahiriyya, and the position of Gadhafi, which are almost holy for the modern Libyan state.
Libya has during last decade conducted a congruent policy, and is slowly gaining foothold in the rest of the Arab world. There are no signs of any changes in this steady line, and a disillusioned Gadhafi runs his country better than many other leaders in the third world.

By Tore Kjeilen