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Libya's Transition to Democracy: Narrowing Institutional and Governance Gaps Open Access

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LIBYA IS A COUNTRY IN TRANSITION. By the official start date of the transition process on October 23, 2011, Libya was essentially devoid of the institutional capacities required to operate a functioning state in the traditional Weberian sense. The weak central state Qadhafi left behind has led some observers to anticipate the transition to democracy doomed, but this factor has in some sense facilitated a clearer break away from authoritarianism. Freedom from engrained institutional constraints has in many respects allowed Libya the unique opportunity to state-build from a tabula rasa; there are no preconceptions as to how that democratic state should be or the sequencing and methods it should employ to achieve it. It is precisely the combination of high uncertainty in the democratic experiment with institutional deficiencies at the state level that require flexibility in the manner in which the new Libya is to be created and its transition assessed. Taking into consideration its institutional weakness and the steps that the country's transitional bodies have taken thus far toward establishing a post-Qadhafi state, is Libya on a trajectory towards a successful transition to democracy? Is democracy even possible?

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