All of this left the economy on its knees. Few government ministries have reception desks or press offices. Obtaining information from, for instance, the Justice Ministry, requires turning up in person at the gate and hoping a guard has the phone number for a minister's aide. Libya has no railway, no public bus service, no postal system, and weak or non-existent commercial law.
An added complication for Zeidan is that he has inherited a bureaucracy with neither the skills nor the inclination to embrace modernization. Corruption under Qaddafi was the norm. Trying to introduce a new set of values was an uphill battle. Zeidan, who was elected as an independent, doesn't have a core constituency to count on other than the support of three National Front seats.
As a new year dawned, the twin ills of violence and stagnation became intertwined. The violence, in particular the killing of Ambassador Stevens, deterred foreign investors with the skills and expertise Libya desperately needed. Stagnation is everywhere. Libya faces an acute housing shortage, but work abandoned in the revolution has yet to restart on vast apartment projects in the suburbs of Benghazi and Tripoli. With no agreement on where to dump the capital's rubbish, it has gathered in a tide across the great lawns of Qaddafi's sprawling Bab al-Azaziya compound in the city centre.
The logjam in payments for reconstruction, salaries, and pensions saw waves of protests outside congress, which sits in a conference centre adjacent to Tripoli's luxurious Rixos hotel. (Qaddafi demolished the capital's parliament building years before.)
Inside congress, lawmakers had gotten bogged-down over how to structure a 60-member-strong commission that was to write the constitution. The Road Map called for the commission to design a constitution to be approved by referendum, but there was no consensus on two key issues: (1) how to reconcile Islamists and liberals regarding the place of Sharia law and rights for individuals, and (2) how much autonomy to give the regions.
It was the issue of the regions which doomed the Road Map. While all Libyans consider themselves patriots, the gulf between the three provinces, Cyrenaica, Tripolitania and Fezzan is wide. Tripolitania has two thirds of the population, but this fuels resentment in the other two provinces that they are being neglected. When it came to designing a constitution, members of Fezzan and Cyrenaica demanded the constitutional commission be split 20-20-20. Tripolitanians in turn complained this left them under-represented.