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It's Morning in Libya

Why Democracy Marches On

A woman celebrates in Tripoli after casting her vote during Libya's National Assembly election Zohra Bensemra / Courtesy Reuters

Nearly two years after NATO’s much-hailed intervention in Libya, observers fear that the country could become a failed state. Libya’s government has struggled to rebuild the country’s war-torn economy and cities. Many foreign donors, wary of a rise in Islamist terrorism, have pulled out. Militias have besieged government ministries to oust officials with ties to the old regime -- a worrying sign of adopting legislation at the point of a gun. In May, a violent clash between demonstrators and militias in Benghazi left over 30 dead, and in late July two powerful suitcase bombs exploded in the city. A headline warned that recent events were a “chronicle of a death foretold.”

Libyans themselves, though, tell a more nuanced story. In a national post-election survey that we conducted last May, Libyans offered their feelings about the country’s future. The results are overwhelmingly positive: 81 percent of Libyans say that

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