Libyan democracy hijacked

 Libyan democracy hijacked - Le Monde diplomatique - English edition:

Patrick Haimzadeh in Monde Diplomatique, on the post-election politics of Libya:

Many commentators pronounced Jibril the man of the moment. Confident of their skill in political science and the analysis of election results, they failed to grasp the complexity and fragmentation of the political landscape. A few weeks later, their predictions were confounded when the new General National Congress appointed as its president Mohammed Magarief, whose National Front party (self-professed moderate Islamist) had only won three seats at the election. On 12 September, the congress chose Mustafa Abu Shagur as prime minister over Jibril, by two votes.

Supported principally by the Islamists, Abu Shagur had been deputy prime minister in the previous ‘transitional’ government. The choice of Shagur demonstrates the difficulty in applying conventional party political models to Libya, where local or even tribal allegiances and rivalries often take precedence over the divide between ‘Islamists’ and ‘liberals’ that is the frame of reference normally used in the West.

Warned about those labels back in July.

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Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region, www.arabist.net.