The Thread Needler

Elected Leaders Peacefully Take Power in Libya

Mustafa Abdel Jalil, head of Libya’s ruling council since the revolution, today transferred his power to a newly-elected parliament. Juan Cole extols the historic transition.

Regime change came in Libyan history by foreign conquest (Spain, the Ottomans, Italy, and the British), by military coup (Qaddafi and his Janissary predecessors of the 18th century), or by revolution (2011, though Idris’s Sanusis allied with the British in World War II to overthrow the Italians, so there was a popular revolutionary element to that transition).

But Mustafa Abdel Jalil was not overthrown, nor has Libya been invaded by a foreign power with troops on the ground. Mustafa Abdel Jalil stood at a podium, and tendered his resignation in favor of the elected representatives of the people.

All the naysayers and skeptics about Libya should give it a rest today, and congratulate our Libyan brothers and sisters on a magnificent historical achievement, and wish them well. Achieving a republic, as Ben Franklin implied, is easier than keeping a democracy. Libyans have made a good first step toward the latter.

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