Thursday, 10 May 2012

Libya's institutions under pressure as elections draw closer

There is continuing disintegration of Libya's institutions as the elections come closer and pressure grows for as many of the electorate as possible to participate in the ballot.

On paper the spread of support for regional semi-autonomy is a damaging departure for those who wish for a simple majority to settle the issue across the country. Most of the support, however, for the federalists remains in the hands of the people of the east and in one or two other enclaves. Those who would not contemplate the division of the national territory merely to satisfy discrete groups and other dissenters will remain strongly in support of a unitary power base. Fortunately there is just about sufficient backing for a parliamentary or Islamist solution within the new constitution to give some strength of belief in the likelihood of a national vote without a federal component.

The strains produced by the confrontation of political parties and individuals taking part in the elections will produce a great deal of tension which could, at time, be violent. Mustafa Abdel Jalil has the ability to keep the aims of the National Transitional Council (NTC) strictly on target but, if he fails in this, then flash points of considerable proportions will exist.

An immediate threat to the NTC is the persistence of the militia groups who are still heavily armed and assertive. They have the potential to disrupt events surrounding the election and the regime itself is powerless to stop them.

For more news and expert analysis about Libya, please see Libya Focus and Libya Politics & Security.

© 2012 Menas Associates

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