Compared with the unrest in its North African neighbours, Libya’s revolution was a bloody affair, plunging the country into an all-out civil war for nearly nine months. Egypt and Tunisia by contrast witnessed mass protests that only briefly turned into violent clashes.
But two years on, Libya finds itself in the peculiar position of leading the new post-revolutionary nations. It has managed to elect a new interim government, which hopes to draw up a constitution over the next few months.
The Egyptians, who ousted Hosni Mubarak, are still embroiled in a political mess that pits the elected Muslim Brotherhood-led government against its secular and liberal rivals. They must also still contend with the state’s powerful military, which could intervene in Egypt’s politics again if no way forward is found.
In Tunisia, disparate political factions seem incapable of forming a working relationship. Over the past month, it has seen one opposition leader, Chokri Belaid, murdered and the prime minister resign.
Libya has its own problems, however. Militias still operate across huge swathes of the country, threatening the rule of law. The security situation also jeopardises the return of the international contractors while Libya needs to get on with its reconstruction efforts. The government is also burdened by its short-term remit to draw up a constitution. Its ministers call for patience, but the population is growing frustrated with the lack of progress.