Ten years after dictator Moammar Gadhafi was killed by Libyan rebels, the North African country is still struggling to emerge from the violence sparked by his overthrow, with many hoping that upcoming elections will turn a new page after a decade of chaos and instability.
Gadhafi ruled Libya with an iron fist for 42 years after a 1969 coup against the monarchy, portraying himself as a revolutionary, Arab and African hero while mercilessly crushing all opposition. In 2011, he was toppled in a revolt inspired by the Arab Spring uprisings and backed by NATO. On Oct. 20 of that year, rebels tracked him down to his hometown Sirte, tortured and killed him in the street, displaying his body in a market. The images of a bloodied Gadhafi shocked the world, while his death has failed to bring democracy or stability. Instead, Libya has fractured along regional and ideological lines, with an assortment of mafia-like militias and their foreign backers vying for control of the oil-rich country.
Last October’s cease-fire between rival eastern and western governments, after United Nations-hosted talks, was followed in March by the appointment of a unity government with a mandate to lead Libya to elections. With a presidential poll set for Dec. 24, and legislative elections in January, Libya is finally turning the page on a decade of chaos.
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