Libya
Libya
external image ly_large_locator.gif
Map of Libya
Map of Libya



BACKGROUND

Libya's government style is called Jamahiriya (a state of the masses) in theory, governed by the people through local councils, but in practice it is an authoritarian state or a dictatorship.

The Italians were in control of what is today called Libya until their loss at the end of World War II. After the war, the United Nations took control of Libya until December 24, 1951 when it gained its independence. In 1969 army leader, Col. Muammar Abu Minyar al-QADHAFI and his soldiers took control of the government by force and installed their own political system called the Third Universal Theory. The system is a combination of socialism and Islam and comes from tribal practices in Libya. The system is supposed to be enforced by the Libyan people themselves in a unique form of "direct democracy."

external image gaddafi.gif MUARMMAR QADHAFI

QADHAFI has always seen himself as a revolutionary and visionary leader. He used oil money during the 1970s and 1980s to support terrorists outside of Libya that would target capitalist countries. Libya was responsible for Pan AM Airplane flight 103 crashing over Scotland. As a result, the United Nations stopped communicating and helping Libya.

During the 1990s, QADHAFI began to rebuild his relationships with Europe. The United Nations decided to communicate with Libya again starting in April 1999 after Libya accepted responsibility for the plane crash. In December 2003, Libya announced that it had agreed to reveal and end its programs to develop weapons of mass destruction and to stop terrorism.

Today Libya is officially known as Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya


GEOGRAPHY

Libya is located in Northern Africa, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Egypt and Tunisia. Libya is the 24th biggest country in the world in land size and is bordered by Algeria, Chad, Egypt, Niger, Sudan, and Tunisia.

Libya's terrain is mostly dry. The interior of the country is mostly barren desert.

POPULATION

There are 6,310,434 inhabitants in Libya making it the 106th most populous country in the world.

ETHNIC GROUPS

Berber and Arab 97%, other 3% (includes Greeks, Maltese, Italians, Egyptians, Pakistanis, Turks, Indians, and Tunisians)

RELIGIONS

97 percent of Libyans are Sunni Muslim.

LANGUAGE

Spoken language in Libya can be Arabic, Italian, and English, all of which are widely understood in the major cities.

LITERACY

Literacy is the ability to read and write by the age of 15. 82.6% of the Libyan population is literate.92.4% of males are literate.72% of females are literate.

ADMINISTRATIVE DIVISIONS

25 municipalities.

CAPITAL CITY

Tripoli

CONSTITUTION

Libya has no official constitution. After the September 1969 military takeover of the Libyan government, the Revolutionary Army Council replaced the existing constitution with the Constitutional Proclamation in December 1969. This means they just made an announcement, but nothing was written. In March 1977, Libya adopted the Declaration of the Establishment of the People's Authority.

EXECUTIVE BRANCH

The Chief of State is Revolutionary Leader Col. Muammar Abu Minyar al-QADHAFI (since 1 September 1969), but he holds no official title like president.

Secretary of the General People's Congress (Prime Minister) al-Baghdadi Ali al-MAHMUDI (since 5 March 2006)

The Primie Minister is the head of government and is elected by the General People's Congress. The Last election was held in March 2009.


LEGISLATIVE BRANCH

The Prime Minister has a group of people that work under him called the General People's Congress. These people are chosen from smaller committees from the 25 municipalities. General People's Congress has 760 seats.

JUDICIAL BRANCH

The Libyan jucidial branch is based on Italian and French civil law systems and Islamic law. There are separate religious courts, but no constitutional law for judges to base their decisions on.

PROBLEMS & NATIONAL ISSUES

Libya lacks natural resources such as water, but the largest water development plan in the world is being built to bring water from large aquifers under the Sahara to coastal cities.

Libya has claimed more than 32,000 square kilometers in southeastern Algeria and about 25,000 square kilometers in the Tommo region of Niger with permission of these two countries.

Libya is home to 8,000 Palestinian refugees.