“In Libya, Gaddafi networks have pollinated the entire political spectrum”

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Muammar Gaddafi was lynched to death on October 20, 2011 near Sirte by insurgents. Ten years later, Libya has still not freed itself from the legacy of the 42-year reign of the “Guide”, a liability which partly explains the fragmentation that followed the revolution. At a time when a certain nostalgia for the old regime is emerging in part of the population, the Gaddafi networks remain influential but are struggling to find within them a leader who could “Embody an alternative” allowing them to “Restore order pre-2011”, says Virginie Collombier, researcher and professor at the European University Institute in Florence.

How is Muammar Gaddafi perceived in Libya ten years after his death?

The population is divided over Gaddafi’s legacy. For supporters of the revolution and those who have suffered from the regime’s repression, if the new leaders have not succeeded in rebuilding a system that works after 2011, it is mainly because Gaddafi has not been able to build a real state. during his forty years of reign. When the regime collapsed, institutions fell with it.

“A part of the population feels a form of nostalgia with regard to Gaddafi”

But another part of the population feels a form of nostalgia for Gaddafi. She sees him as the one who offered a “way” to Libya, the one who was able to ensure the country’s independence. People remember that there was no great poverty in Gaddafi’s time, that oil profits were distributed more fairly, that life was cheaper. The vision they maintain is that of greater social justice.

What characterized the “Qadhafi system”?

The personal, political, tribal ties, mixed with the centrality of the oil wealth which made Libya a rentier state, were the main characteristics of the Jamahiriya. It was a system that articulated political allegiances and economic distribution in a very complex way.

What happened to the Gaddafi networks in the new post-2011 political and military configuration?

They are today scattered across the Libyan political spectrum. We can find them in the west, within the new government of national unity in Tripoli, as in the east, in the entourage of Marshal Khalifa Haftar. They are also present in the “civil current”, those political parties and groups which have emerged in recent years to participate in the new institutional political game resulting from the elections of 2012 and then 2014. The Gaddafi have in a way disseminated to pollinate the whole political spectrum. They have reconfigured themselves, by reorganizing the links between social forces and economic forces. It is a kind of spider’s web that readjustes itself according to the wind.

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