The challenges for Libya now Gaddafi is gone

People in Libya are desperate for change and the new government will have to manage expectations carefully. AFP/Abdullah Doma

The relegation of Moammar Gaddafi to the meat-locker of history is a significant exorcism of Libya’s past.

Whether it would have been better for him to face trial is a moot point. It’s doubtful that too many Libyans will be having an existential crisis over the ethical circumstances of his death. They would never have truly felt free if Gaddafi had slipped away somewhere or wound up in The Hague, only to keep up his grandstanding rhetoric.

Running Libya

What does remain though is the question of how the new Libya will be run. Gaddafi’s Jamahiriya system was purposely designed to prevent any effective power in governance and the legislature was a rubber stamp charade.

A hasty “Interim Constitutional Declaration” was made by the National Transitional Council, undoubtedly at the behest of the West, but basically Libyans will have to come up with a completely new blueprint as to how their nation will operate.

The basis of Sharia law for the judicial system (as it is in most secular Arab nations) will not be too hard for the West to accept. But the spectre of hard-line Islamic groups waiting to swoop on elections will be more difficult to swallow.

Ensuring security

Mustafa Abdel Jalil, Chair of the National Transitional Council, has declared Libya free, but his challenges have only just begun. EPA/Sabri Elmhedwi