Libyans Vote, But Power Struggle Has Just Begun

Source: Getty
TV/Radio Broadcast NPR
Summary
Despite continued turbulence, Libyans remain guardedly optimistic about the trajectory of their democratic transition, especially after parliamentary elections were held with few problems.
Related Media and Tools
 

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene.

Yesterday, for the first time since the fall of Moammar Gadhafi, Libyans cast votes to elect their government. These were parliamentary elections. And while Libyans celebrated the landmark event in the street, it is clear the transition to democracy is running into trouble.

For more, we're joined by Fred Wehrey in the BBC Studios in London. He's a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and he was in Libya during the run-up to the elections.

Welcome to the program.

FRED WEHREY: Thanks, good to be here.

GREENE: So, tell us what the country seemed like as we approach the selection first. What were the conflicts that we were seeing in Libya?

WEHREY: You know, I would describe the mood as guardedly optimistic. The main issue really was the disagreement between the east and the west, and specifically this feeling in the east that they were not being represented by these elections, that the historic marginalization of the east - that Gadhafi had implemented - that this would continue. One activist told me that it was simply old wine in new bottles.

So, as a result of this, you had in the run-up to the election calls for boycott in the east, protests, violence, the closure of oil refineries and, as we saw on Election Day, some deadly acts of violence.

GREENE: Help us understand how this is possible. I think the image that many of us have from Libya was the ouster of Gadhafi being a victory for the east, for Benghazi, where the revolution was sort of born. Why do they feel they're not getting the power that they expected?

WEHREY: Well, that's just the crux of it. I mean they're disappointed that the transitional authority, the NCC, has really moved a lot of the political power to the west. Specifically, they point to the allocation of parliamentary seats, where the west has more parliamentary seats. And so, there's this move in the east of simply that these elections are illegitimate and people should not participate.

GREENE: And I guess, you know, we're still waiting for results from these elections. But I wonder, you know, is there a sense of who the front-runner parties are, and if we're seeing the same sort of secular Islamist divide that really emerged in Egypt?

WEHREY: You really don't see that divide. Libya is really a different political animal. The line between Islamist and secularist is really blurred. So what you're seeing is a very even, close race between the National Forces Alliance, a more nationalist secular party led by Mahmoud Jibril, the former executive chairman of the NTC, and a Muslim Brotherhood affiliate party, the Justice and Construction Party.

GREENE: And, as we go forward, I mean, a lot of the conflict we've been talking about - a helicopter shot down, boycotts, protests in the streets - does this all threaten to undermine this country as it goes forward? Or is this kind of the turbulence that we expect?

WEHREY: It's a bumpy, turbulence and road. But my sense here - and I really want to emphasize this - was the tremendous euphoria and can-do spirit of the Libyans. I mean, they realized that they do not want to jeopardize the enormous sacrifices that their martyrs made. You have to remember also that in the larger frame of things, this election was successful.

Polling went ahead and about 94 to 98 percent of the polling stations. There was high voter turnout. By and large this has been a historic, momentous occasion.

GREENE: We've been talking about the historic parliamentary election in Libya with Fred Wehrey. He's a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and he joined us from the BBC Studios in London.

Thanks so much.

WEHREY: Thank you, appreciate it.

End of document

About the Middle East Program

The Carnegie Middle East Program combines in-depth local knowledge with incisive comparative analysis to examine economic, sociopolitical, and strategic interests in the Arab world. Through detailed country studies and the exploration of key crosscutting themes, the Carnegie Middle East Program, in coordination with the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut, provides analysis and recommendations in both English and Arabic that are deeply informed by knowledge and views from the region. The program has special expertise in political reform and Islamist participation in pluralistic politics.

 
 
Source http://carnegieendowment.org/2012/07/08/libyans-vote-but-power-struggle-has-just-begun/cze2

In Fact

 

45%

of the Chinese general public

believe their country should share a global leadership role.

30%

of Indian parliamentarians

have criminal cases pending against them.

140

charter schools in the United States

are linked to Turkey’s Gülen movement.

2.5–5

thousand tons of chemical weapons

are in North Korea’s possession.

92%

of import tariffs

among Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru have been eliminated.

$2.34

trillion a year

is unaccounted for in official Chinese income statistics.

37%

of GDP in oil-exporting Arab countries

comes from the mining sector.

72%

of Europeans and Turks

are opposed to intervention in Syria.

90%

of Russian exports to China

are hydrocarbons; machinery accounts for less than 1%.

13%

of undiscovered oil

is in the Arctic.

17

U.S. government shutdowns

occurred between 1976 and 1996.

40%

of Ukrainians

want an “international economic union” with the EU.

120

million electric bicycles

are used in Chinese cities.

60–70%

of the world’s energy supply

is consumed by cities.

58%

of today’s oils

require unconventional extraction techniques.

67%

of the world's population

will reside in cities by 2050.

50%

of Syria’s population

is expected to be displaced by the end of 2013.

18%

of the U.S. economy

is consumed by healthcare.

81%

of Brazilian protesters

learned about a massive rally via Facebook or Twitter.

32

million cases pending

in India’s judicial system.

1 in 3

Syrians

now needs urgent assistance.

370

political parties

contested India’s last national elections.

70%

of Egypt's labor force

works in the private sector.

70%

of oil consumed in the United States

is for the transportation sector.

20%

of Chechnya’s pre-1994 population

has fled to different parts of the world.

58%

of oil consumed in China

was from foreign sources in 2012.

$536

billion in goods and services

traded between the United States and China in 2012.

$100

billion in foreign investment and oil revenue

have been lost by Iran because of its nuclear program.

4700%

increase in China’s GDP per capita

between 1972 and today.

$11

billion have been spent

to complete the Bushehr nuclear reactor in Iran.

2%

of Iran’s electricity needs

is all the Bushehr nuclear reactor provides.

78

journalists

were imprisoned in Turkey as of August 2012 according to the OSCE.

Stay in the Know

Enter your email address to receive the latest Carnegie analysis in your inbox!

Personal Information
 
 
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
 
1779 Massachusetts Avenue NW Washington, DC 20036-2103 Phone: 202 483 7600 Fax: 202 483 1840
Please note...

You are leaving the website for the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy and entering a website for another of Carnegie's global centers.

请注意...

你将离开清华—卡内基中心网站,进入卡内基其他全球中心的网站。