Libya has been ruled by Colonel Muammar al-Qadhafi since he came to power in a bloodless coup in 1969. He has organized the country's political landscape around his personal interpretations of Arab nationalism, socialism, and Islam, which are laid out in a treatise known as the Green Book. In March 1977, al-Qadhafi declared the establishment of the authority of the people and introduced a unique political system called the Jamahiriya (State of the Masses). Under this system, every Libyan citizen ostensibly
participates in the ruling structure through membership in local congresses, the decisions of which are fed up into the General People's Congress (parliament). Al-Qadhafi himself has no formal position or title, preferring to refer to himself as “Brother Leader” or “Leader of the Revolution.” In reality, however, he retains complete control of the state apparatus.