Friday, March 23, 2012

Libya’s Struggle with Federalism

Opponents and supporters of federalism clashed with knives, guns and rocks in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi on Friday 16 March. The violence erupted after hundreds of people demonstrated in favor a political project aimed at dividing Libya into three autonomous regions.

That demonstration was one of several rallies that started after a conference of tribal and political leaders in Benghazi. The conference unilaterally declared Cyrenaica (Berqa in Arabic) an autonomous polity, polarizing public opinion and prompting fears that the country might split up. These developments seem to intensify the struggle for the future of Libyan governance.

Under these conditions, does federalism have a future?

If we look at the current situation federalism seems the only viable option for stability in Libya. Federalism is seen as the best way to guarantee minority rights, to account for the diversity of Libya’s religions and tribes and to manage the country’s abundant oil resources. Read More