In 1951, Libya became a unified independent country within its current borders. Initially, it started as a federal monarchy made up of three distinct regions; Tripolitania, Cyrenaica and Fezzan, each with its own regional government and legislative body alongside a main central government and parliament.

 Libya was a federal monarchy made up of three distinct regions:Tripolitania, Cyrenaica and Fezzan  [Getty Images]

However, in 1963 the federal system was abolished giving way to a totally unified country with central political and sovereign institutions.

For almost 42 years, power and wealth were under the control of one absolute dictator, Muammar Gaddafi, and after his demise in 2011, it became a real challenge to adopt a new discourse based on free elections and power-sharing.

The past five years, however, have offered Libyans many challenges as well as opportunities. While this period provided an opportunity to rebuild a new unified state based on a democratic discourse encompassing transparent institutions and rule of law, it, nonetheless, put the whole notion of a Libyan united state under strain. The threat of disintegrationbecame real.

Local actors have been justifying their conflicts under banners of fighting 'terrorism' or standing up to a 'counter revolutionary forces' [Getty Images]

Lack of political consensus among the various political actors, and their inability to resolve regional differences through peaceful national dialogue, resulted in two parallel civil wars raging in the east and west of Libya.

The civil war has been fuelled by detrimental foreign intervention, while the local actors have been justifying their conflicts under banners of fighting "terrorism" or standing up to a "counterrevolutionary forces".

However, the reality of the conflict in Libya is that it is a scramble for power and wealth, ignited by the inability to craft a new social contract determining a fair sharing of power.

The most serious manifestation of Libya's disintegration over the past two years has been the emergence of two separate conflicting parliaments and governments, one operating in the east and one in the west.

The GNA is an outcome of a broad national political dialogue that produced an agreement based on compromise and consensus between the main opposing political and military groups that divided Libya.

Consequently, attempts were made to split the three most important sovereign economic institutions; the Central Bank, the National Oil Corporation (NOC) and the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA), by having two functioning central banks, National Oil Corporations and the Libyan Investment Authorities.

The two LIAs even went to the extent of filing court proceedings in London against each other over who is entitled to manage some $67bn of frozen LIA assets internationally.

The disintegration also ran across security institutions. Since the conflict began in 2014, there have been effectively two parallel army, police and security structures, leading many Libyans to believe that the country was in danger of splitting into two.

The lack of real political change on the ground, the feeling of marginalisation among certain groups and regions, and a weak central authority are factors that reinforced this conviction. As a result, demands to return to a federal political system of government became vocal.

A small minority went even further, demanding a separation of the east of Libya, and the right to self-determination, risking the total fragmentation of the country.

The GNA's main executive policies must focus on three main aspects which are security, socio-economic conditions and institution building  [Reuters]

It is against this background of anarchy and fragmentation that the United Nations initiated a national dialogue back in September 2014. This resulted in a new Presidency Council, led by Fayez Sarraj, and the pending Government of National Accord (GNA) provides one of the last hopes of keeping the country united.

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The GNA is an outcome of a broad national political dialogue that produced an agreement based on compromise and consensus between the main opposing political and military groups that divided Libya.

This agreement transferred most of the political powers to the new GNA's Presidency Council that has a clear mandate to reunite the country, steer it out of conflict and back on track to complete the post-revolution transitional period.

A month since peacefully arriving in Tripoli, the new GNA needs to move quickly to start reuniting the split sovereign institutions. These include the Libyan Central Bank, NOC, LIA as well as the army, police, intelligence and security bodies.

This, in effect, will put an end to the institutional disintegration and reverse the divisive trend since 2014.

Other vital steps, that can be undertaken by the GNA, include facilitating a process of political and social reconciliation inclusive of all Libyans. Consensus-building between opposing factions and continuation of the political process until a new constitutional draft is put to a referendum leading to permanent elections is also required to achieve a new beginning of a stable permanent era in Libya.

The GNA has built up momentum since it relocated in Tripoli, putting forward an action plan and a list of ministers for the new cabinet. However, it cannot afford to wait any longer for the House of Representative  in Tobruk to provide its proposed cabinet with an official vote of confidence.

The GNA's main executive policies must focus in future on three main aspects: Security, socioeconomic conditions and institution-building.

Security needs must be addressed by bringing stability to the capital Tripoli, and ending the fighting and human suffering in Benghazi, as well as other cities and regions.

It also needs to gradually and firmly begin incorporating civilian armed groups, or militias, into the national army and tackle the expanding threat from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant group.

 The inevitable battle to regain Sirte is likely to represent the final show down with ISIL in Libya [Getty Images]

The recent victory over ISIL (also known as ISIS) by the local population and armed groups in the eastern city of Derna can only serve as a boost to the GNA. However, the remnants of ISIL who escaped from Derna, may well relocate to Benghazi, and most likely Sirte, which is under the full control of ISIL.

The inevitable battle to regain Sirte is likely to represent the final show down with ISIL in Libya.

GNA's new socioeconomic policies should focus on increasing the production and export of oil, which, if resumed quickly, can bring in vital income for the country and top up central bank reserves. Strengthening the value and exchange price of the Libyan dinar against main foreign currencies, should be another priority.

The GNA will also need to ensure the availability of cash withdrawals for people at banks, the payment of salaries on time, and a reversal of the recently inflated prices of basic commodities such as bread.

The GNA has all the elements and ingredients to succeed and can only fail Libya through weak vision, resolve and leadership.

Source: Al Jazeera