Libya is not only a republic. Officially, it does not call itself a ‘Jumhuriya’. Instead, it is described as a ‘Jamahiriya’, meaning a republic with a system of direct democracy. Not too many non-Libyans are aware that this North African country, conquered several times in the past - and which lost thousands of its citizens, including the legendary hero Omar Mukhtar, as martyrs, to colonialism - has been experimenting since the late 1970s with a governmental policy and practice that enables it to credit its own society as being ahead of a number of Western regimes that have habitually claimed to be the cradle of democracy.
A very interesting article, which shows that the NATO attacks on Libya are an attack on the development of genuine democracy, i.e. Direct Democracy, and an attempt to regress Libya to the kind of representation scam we have in Europe, which negates democracy:
Direct democracy: The Libyan experiment
by Prof. Dr. Türkkaya ATAÖV
The General People’s Congress held its first meeting in 1976, and “People’s Authority” was declared to have been established in early 1977. Since then, the Libyans claim to have announced the dawn of the era of the masses, or popular direct authority, as the basis of their political system. The man on the street, as much as the elite, believes that that the people exercise their authority through the popular congresses, the people’s committees and other bodies, and ultimately through the General People’s Congress.
Libya conceptualizes sovereignty and democracy in a different way. It has created institutional arrangements to give practical effect to these concepts. These institutions function in their own prescribed way to implement the notions of sovereignty and democracy so conceived. Short answers to these questions should be as follows: The decisions taken and implemented should reflect the sovereign will of the whole people, and not that of any class, clan, fraction or individual; they should be implemented in a way which reflects the sovereign will of the whole, not any part of it. The people, locally and nationally, should participate directly in decision-making and in the implementation of decisions, and should use their right to control the results. Hence, direct rule, not representation.