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On July 7, 2012 Libyans will go to the polls to elect a 200-member General National Congress (GNC) in the country’s first national elections since 1965. The GNC will replace the interim National Transitional Council (NTC), which formed in the East in the early days of the uprising to serve as the political face of the revolution, growing in membership as the rebels moved westward. During the revolution, the NTC also appointed an Executive Board to assume government functions in areas under rebel control. After the declaration of Libya’s liberation on October 23, 2011, the NTC relocated to Tripoli and named an interim government to oversee the transition until national elections could be held. While the NTC is supposed to serve as the legislative body and the interim government as the executive, these responsibilities have not been clearly demarcated, sowing some confusion over the separation of powers. The public has grown increasingly frustrated with the interim governing bodies, which are viewed as lacking transparency, not being adequately representative or accountable, and poorly managing the transition, particularly in terms of rebuilding security.

Against this backdrop, Libyans are enthusiastic to replace the self-appointed government with one they have elected themselves, even if few know exactly what it is they are voting for.