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Overview

Libya's government has experienced significant strains stemming from various interest groups and armed militias calling for federalism. The General National Congress, elected in 2012, is mandated to form a government, promulgate legislation for Libya's transitional period, and establish a constitution-drafting entity. A de facto federal structure has emerged since the fall of the Qaddafi regime, and it appears that a federal state structure is the only way forward for Libya. Even a decentralized framework may be threatened, however, if it does not clearly delineate the powers of the executive heads of provincial territories.

Students in this Practicum supported the Public Interest Law and Policy Group (PILPG), a pro bono international law firm, which is advising civil society groups in Libya. To assist PILPG in supporting its clients' engagement on constitutional issues and decentralization, students in this Practicum wrote a legal memorandum analyzing comparative state practice of the distribution of powers between the national executive and provincial level executives in federal or decentralized states. The memorandum addressed approaches that states have taken on key issues such as whether the national executive can remove the heads of provincial governments; whether the provincial executive has a role in national-level policies; whether provincial executives maintain any control over the military; and whether the provincial executives' powers can supersede the national executive's powers on certain regional issues. State practice from the Middle East and North Africa region are of particular relevance to PILPG's Libyan clients, but state practice examples were ultimately selected based on their value in explaining or illustrating mechanisms and processes that shed light on the efficacy of different approaches to distributing powers between national and provincial executives.