Libya's new congress faces huge challenges

Regardless of who holds the majority in the country's new parliament, the issues to be tackled remain the same.

by

    For the majority of Libyans, it’s their first elected governing body.

    And now there’s a lot of speculation about how exactly the National Congress will look. Mahmoud Jibril’s alliance may have won the majority of party seats, but that means nothing when there are 120 ‘independent’ candidates. They will be forming alliances, or are already committed to a certain party.

    So the exact makeup of the congress is yet unclear. But regardless of who holds the majority, the issues that need to be tackled remain the same. There is no escaping the huge challenges Libya’s new rulers will need to address. Security, human rights, nation building to name a few.

    It’s a mammoth task rebuilding this country, and many Libyans will tell you that it’s not even a case of re-building it from scratch, "we are starting from below zero" I’m often told.

    But there is optimism.

    The joy and sense of achievement felt on election day by those we met is impossible to describe. It was contagious even to us as outsiders, witnessing this momentous occasion.

    One elderly man I met in Misrata lost three of his sons during the war. His eyes welled up with tears as he spoke.

    "I am expired," he told me, "42 years of Gaddafi has broken me. Now it’s up to the new generation."

    He held up his ink-stained finger and looked up at the sky, his eyes cleared somewhat: "But today I feel like I am under a new sky."

    And that’s the general sentiment here - amidst all the challenges there is hope. It’s now up to the National Congress to come together and start to deal with the mess left behind by the Gaddafi regime.

    Ask anyone what their first priority is - and they will tell you ‘security’. Without security you cannot build anything.

    This is such a new process for Libyans who are still getting their heads round a political party system.

    And many will tell you that it's not about labelling someone as an Islamist or a liberal which will gain their trust, it's about seeing real improvements on the ground.


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