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POGAR > Countries > Country Theme: Elections: Libya
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Overview

The Libyan government is structured in a pyramid of committees and congresses, each layer of which is involved in the selection of the next highest level. At the apex is the General People’s Congress. The structure is intended to allow for broad democratic participation at the pyramid’s base. The people of Libya are formed into numerous organizations, which include municipal people's congresses, as well as vocational, production, professional, and craft people's congresses. Voting for the leaders of the local congresses is mandatory for all Libyans over the age of 18. The elected secretaries of these various congresses and committees then select the members of the highest legislative organization, the General People’s Congress. The General People’s Congress is composed of 760 members who serve three-year terms. Members of the body must be Libyan nationals over the age of 18 and hold leadership positions in the local committees and congresses. The Arab Socialist Union (ASU) is the organization charged with mobilizing the people for political involvement, acting as Libya’s only political party. The daily affairs of the national government are handled by the General People’s Committee, which is elected by the General People’s Congress at the beginning of each of the three year terms.

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Election Laws, Systems and Processes

Elections occur every three years, when the Basic People’s Congresses, the local bodies comprised of all Libyan citizens, choose their leadership committees. The election process continues up the hierarchy of People’s Congresses, until the General People’s Congress chooses the General People’s Committee.

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Legislative Elections

The last elections of the people's congress took place in two stages: the first stage was on July 18, 2004 and the second on August 7, 2004. The Libyans elected 864 persons out of 11,000 candidates who would assume the tasks of congresses and people's committees’ secretaries in 32 governorates that include 452 people's congresses. The secretaries enjoy executive, legislative and financial powers in their districts. These elections were called "reconstruction elections." The current Secretary of the General People’s Committee, and thus the titular head of the government, is Shukri Muhammad Ghanim.

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