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The 1951 Libyan Constitution was brought into force on 7 October 1951, prior to Libya's formal declaration of its independence on 21 December 1951 as a constitutional and hereditary monarchy under King Idris. The enactment of the Libyan Constitution was significant in that it was the first and only piece of legislation that formally entrenched the rights of Libyan citizens after the post-war creation of the Libyan nation state.

The Libyan National Assembly drafted the Constitution and passed a resolution accepting it in a meeting held in the city of Benghazi on Sunday, 6th Muharram, Hegiras 1371: October 7m 1951. Mohamed Abulas’ad El-Alem, President of the National Assembly and the two Vice-Presidents of the National Assembly, Omar Faiek Shennib and Abu Baker Ahmed Abu Baker executed and submitted the Constitution to King Idris prior to its publication in the Official Gazette of Libya.

The enactment of the Libyan Constitution was significant in that it was the first piece of legislation to formally entrench the rights of Libyan citizens following the post-war creation of the Libyan nation state. Following on from the intense UN debates, during which Idris had argued that the creation of a single Libyan state would be of benefit to the regions of Tripolitania, Fezzan, and Cyrenaica, the Libyan government was keen to formulate a constitution which contained many of the entrenched rights common to European and North American nation states.

Thus, though not creating a secular state (Article 5 proclaims Islam the religion of the State), the Libyan Constitution formally set out rights such as equality before the law as well as equal civil and political rights, equal opportunities, and an equal responsibility for public duties and obligations "without distinction of religion, belief, race, language, wealth, kinship or political or social opinions" (Article 11).

Following the "Green Revolution" military coup of 1969, led by Colonel Gaddafi, that overthrew the monarchy and the Libyan National Assembly, the Libyan Constitution was no longer in effect. The Green Book put forth by Gaddafi became the foundation of the laws of Libya.


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