Power In Libya: What’s Next?

By Bob Seay

Oct. 21, 2011

mahmoud jibril

Dr. Mahmoud Jibril, interim prime minister of the Libyan Transitional National Council, speaks during an a event at the Brookings Institute on May 12. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

BOSTON — With Gadhafi gone, people around the globe wonder what party or person will rise to the top in a country that finally has the chance for democratic rule. WGBH’s Bob Seay talked with Matthew Bell, Middle East correspondent for The World, about the future of Libyan politics.
Gadhafi’s death, Bell said, is “definitely a turning point. But I think it’s also a reminder that this is the beginning of something that’s probably going to be a long, difficult and, I would bet, at times painful process. There are a lot of hopes about democracy in Libya . . . but I think it’s going to be a tough road ahead to get there.
He wasn’t completely reassured by the promise of interim prime minister Mahmoud Jibril’s announcement that he and the rest of the interim government would resign from power.
“A lot of the leaders for the National Transitional Council, they say the right things, they seem very impressive,” Bell said. “They seem to be very forward-thinking, and that certainly gives confidence. But again the country has so many problems. It’s suffered from a leader who never built up institutions, never developed the country. … When you think about a country building a system from scratch, it’s just so much work to do and it’s hard to know what comes next.”

Seay suggested that perhaps the country’s residents weren't thinking that far ahead at the moment: “It seems like most Libyans are just glad to see him gone.” Bell agreed: “Absolutely.”

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