Tag: Revolution (page 1 of 3)

Elections Called in Egypt

[Flag of Egypt]The Arab Spring was not easy on Egypt. Egyptians left the structure of an autocrat for the freedom of freedom. On November 28, 2011, Egypt held its parliamentary election. On June 24, 2012, Egypt elected Mohammed Morsi president (article: The Quality of Mursi). At the time, Morsi seemed to be a compromise candidate between the Islamicist Muslim Brotherhood and the secular and liberal factions in Egypt.

What spurred the protests?

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The NTC no more

[Flag of Libya]Libya's election took place on July 7. Contrary to all other post-Arab Spring elections, Libya seems to have elected a pro-West government. The first party in the new General National Congress is National Forces Alliance, with 39 of the 200 seats (and a 48% vote share). The second party, the Justice and Construction party, received only 17 seats and 10% of the vote. Twenty-four seats are held by miscellaneous parties.

Independents hold the remaining 120 seats, as well as the future directions of the General National Congress.

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A Libyan Train Wreck

[Flag of Libya]The election to fill the 200 seats of Libya's new and temporary legislature, the General National Conference, takes place on Saturday. Already, the indications are that it will sow discontent across the country, aggravating the rift between Tripoli and Benghazi.

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Creating “Libyans”

[Flag of Libya]New countries must form a sense of nationhood amongst its citizens. That is, the people of the new country must feel as though they belong to it first. This is one of the most difficult jobs. Countries that have failed to engender a sense of nationalism suffer from political fissures that are all-but-impossible to overcome. Many of Nigeria's problems, for instance, can be traced to the fact that the people see themselves as a part of a tribe first and as Nigerian second.

Libya's new government is trying to create "Libyans."

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Cyrenaica Reborn?

[Flag of Libya]Three separate historical regions compose the modern state of Libya: Tripolitania, Fezzan, and Cyrenaica. Not until 1951 did all three parts come together to for the Kingdom of Libya. Now, elected officials in Benghazi, Cyrenaica, are calling for full autonomy for the eastern portion of Libya. The National Transitional Council (NTC) does not want to grant such autonomy.

[A map of the Three Historical Regions of Libya]

The Three Historical Regions of Libya

The history of the Libyan region is long. It reaches back to the time when Carthage ruled much of the Mediterranean. In the years Carthage was creating and strengthening Punic Tripolitania, Fezzan served as the land bridge between the Mediterranean and the Sahel States of Africa. While the west belonged to Carthage and (later) Rome, Cyrenaica in the east belonged to Greece. With the ebb of Punic and Greek power, the Roman Empire united Tripolitania, Fezzan, and Cyrenaica into the Africa Nova province (under Augustus). With the crumbling of the Roman Empire came the Vandals, who destroyed much of Roman Africa, including modern-day Libya. The Vandals eventually forced the Byzantines into just a few cities in the west (notably Cyrene), where they defended themselves against the Vandals, the Monophysites, and the Arab Islamic, who eventually swept unpopular Byzantium from Africa. Nothing significant changed until World War I, when the power of Italy replaced that of the Ottoman Empire. Italy ruled their African colony as two provinces: Cyrenaica and Tripolitania (which included Fezzan).

[Flag of Cyrenaica]When Italy lost World War II, Libya was split into its three historical parts: The independent Emirate of Cyrenaica, French-controlled Fezzan, and British-controlled Tripolitania. In 1951, King Idris I proclaimed the United Kingdom of Libya, uniting the three provinces into one. This lasted until 1969, when Muammar Qaddafi overthrew Idris.

During most of its history, the land of Libya was not unified. Cyrenaica, separated from Tripolitania by the Gulf of Sidra (and desert), was usually governed by a separate ruler, separated into a separate colony, or otherwise separated from Tripolitania. Thus, the call in Benghazi should not have come as a shock to those in Tripoli. With no functioning central government, the parts are beginning to return to a former period. Just as Somaliland (former British Somaliland) has declared independence from Somalia (former Italian Somaliland), so too is Cyrenaica seeking a former status denied to them.

Official electoral body High National Election Commission (HNEC)
Election General National Congress July 7, 2012
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