After Gaddafi, Libyans still prefer one-man rule

Despite the deposition and assassination of Col Muammar Gaddafi, the first ever National Survey of Libya suggests that people in the country still prefer one-man-rule over alternatives like democracy.

The publication of the survey conducted partly by the University of Oxford coincides with the anniversary of the first protests triggered by rebel forces against Gaddafi, a university release said.

Despite the protests and eventual killing of Gaddafi, the survey reveals that 35 per cent would still like a strong leader or leaders for the country in five years’ time.

Only 29 per cent of those surveyed said they would prefer to live in a democracy.

However, 69 per cent of the over 2000 respondents also insisted that ordinary citizens should have a say in how the country should develop.

The face-to-face survey of a nationally representative sample of the population was conducted between December 2011 and January 2012 in a joint research project by the Institute of Human Sciences at the University of Oxford and Oxford Research International, a private research organisation, in association with the University of Benghazi.

It finds that the Libyan population is largely optimistic about the future with up to 8 out of 10 people expecting improvements in their personal lives, economic circumstances and their country, the release added.

Despite this apparent optimism, 16 per cent of those surveyed said they were ready to resort to violence for political ends. This would mean that around 630,000 people were potential fighters, in addition to the 280,000 who previously took up arms.

There is already a plan for elections being held in Libya with some suggesting they could take place in mid 2012.

The survey suggests that most people in Libya distrust political parties with respondents giving them only 27 per cent of the maximum trust rating for institutions.

The most trusted institution was Libya's National Transitional Council (NTC), which received 81 per cent of the maximum trust from respondents overall.

Put in a position to spend 100 million Dinars, most Libyans said they would put health at the top of their list of priorities, providing it with an average of 34 per cent of the total budget, the release said.

Education would receive an average of 27 per cent of the total budget while, perhaps surprisingly, environmental improvements such as tree planting would be given an average eight per cent of the total budget, according to the survey.

Andrew Gosler from the Institute of Human Sciences at the University of Oxford said: "The first National Survey holds many surprises for the world on what the Libyan people want following decades of autocratic rule under the Gaddafi regime. It reveals that there is a great deal of optimism amongst the population about the future of their country.

"When asked about their spending priorities, health and education came top as you might expect, but the Libyans also seem surprisingly ready to do more on the environment where there is universal concern across all political divides."

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