Col Muammar Gaddafi ruled Libya for 42 years, and allowed no opposition to his rule. After the collapse of his regime, several organisations and individuals have come to the fore, jockeying for position to fill the power vacuum.
National Transitional Council (NTC)
The NTC, a disparate movement with its roots in eastern Libya, has risen to pre-eminence in post-Gaddafi politics.
Residents of towns and cities in eastern Libya formed the NTC as an interim rebel administration in the early days of the uprising against Col Gaddafi.
It is now recognised as the nation's sole legitimate authority by most of the world's major powers, and has moved its headquarters to the capital, Tripoli.
But NTC leaders have made it clear that the organisation is an interim body that will oversee a transition to democratic elections, expected in 2013.
Mustafa Mohammed Abdul Jalil - NTC chairman
Mustafa Mohammed Abdul Jalil served as justice minister in the Gaddafi regime, and was sent to Benghazi in the early days of the revolt to deal with the protesters.
But he quit on 21 February in protest at "the excessive use of violence against unarmed protesters" and within days became chairman of the NTC.
Mr Abdul Jalil worked for more than two decades as a judge, during which time he gained a reputation for consistently ruling against the government.
Col Gaddafi's son, Saif al-Islam, brought him into the government as justice minister in 2007 to cast himself in a more reform-minded light.
Mr Abdul Jalil won praise from human rights groups and Western powers for his efforts to reform Libya's criminal code during his tenure at the ministry.
On 22 August, as the rebels battled Col Gaddafi's supporters for control of Tripoli, Mr Abdul Jalil declared that the "Gaddafi era is over".
He is expected to play a prominent role in any future government and has set out his vision of a nation guided by moderate Islam.
"We are a Muslim nation, with a moderate Islam, and we will maintain that," he recently told crowds of his supporters in Tripoli.
Mahmoud Jibril - head of NTC Executive Board
Sometimes referred to as the NTC's prime minister, US-educated Mahmoud Jibril is head of its Executive Board and in the early days of the rebellion was the most prominent voice of the NTC on the international stage.
He is reputedly a capable technocrat and is said to make many of the day-to-day decisions involved in running the NTC.
A leaked US diplomatic cable from November 2009 written by the US ambassador to Libya, Gene Cretz, described Mr Jibril as "a serious interlocutor who 'gets' the US perspective".
But his leadership credentials have been under strain, as he has appeared to alienate some NTC supporters with his plans for the transitional authority.
A recent speech where he suggested bringing the various anti-Gaddafi militias under NTC control received a cool response from military leaders.
Before the uprising, he was involved in a project called "Libyan Vision" with other intellectuals, which sought to establish a democratic state.
He later became the head of the Libyan National Planning Council. Then in 2009, he was appointed chairman of the National Economic Development Board (NEDB), which was founded in the mid-2000s to encourage investment and economic growth in Libya. He reported directly to the prime minister.
Ali Tarhouni - NTC Finance Minister
Ali Tarhouni fled Libya in the 1970s for the US, where he has worked as an economics lecturer at the University of Washington in Seattle.
He returned from exile in the early days of the revolt against Col Gaddafi and endeared himself to the citizens of Benghazi by appearing in internet video clips urging Gaddafi troops not to fire on civilians.
According to an article in the New York Times, one of his first acts as a rebel leader was to order fighters to rob Benghazi's central bank. They reportedly recovered $320m.
Since then, he has been on a constant mission to raise funds for the interim authorities, and has been the key figure in negotiations involving the country's oil reserves.
Although he has little experience in politics, observers say he has become popular with the public, and has a growing reputation for economic competence.
Abdul Hafez Ghoga - NTC vice-chairman
Abdul Hafez Ghoga is a Benghazi-based human rights lawyer and community organiser.
The former president of the Libyan Bar Association was arrested on 19 February, shortly after the anti-government protests began, but was released a few days later.
He later rose to prominence after declaring himself the spokesman of an interim council, rivalling the one created by Mustafa Abdul Jalil.
Mr Ghoga was subsequently named vice-chairman and spokesman of the NTC at the beginning of March.
Abdel Hakim Belhaj - Tripoli military commander
Abdel Hakim Belhaj led the military brigade that stormed Col Gaddafi's Tripoli compound, declaring afterwards: "The tyrant has fled and we will be after him."
The military assault propelled the former Islamist fighter to international prominence.
And he has been kept in the headlines by an extraordinary series of allegations that he was kidnapped and tortured by the CIA.
He made the claims in a media interview, and several days later documents were unearthed at an office used by Col Gaddafi's spy chief that appeared to back up his story.
But he has said he feels no bitterness, and the past will not get in the way of the new Libyan administration's attempts to build relations with the rest of the world.
Misrata military commanders
Misrata is some 200km from Tripoli, but more than 600km from Benghazi, the stronghold of anti-Gaddafi resistance.
While Benghazi's leaders were setting up the NTC and negotiating loans with foreign powers, the people of Misrata were suffering a brutal siege by the Gaddafi regime's crack troops.
Many of Misrata's military leaders felt abandoned by the NTC during their fight against Col Gaddafi - a fight they eventually won, but not before hundreds had died.
Now, some of the city's people and their military commanders feel the political settlement and mythology of the revolt is also ignoring their struggle.
A report by Bloomberg quoted an organisation called the Misrata Military Council as saying it was surprised that no-one from Misrata was on the NTC's board.
And a fighter from the city told Bloomberg: "They don't want to say anything about Misrata... [they want] Misrata's revolution to disappear."
Misrata remains loyal to the NTC, but there are cracks in the alliance.
A non-Arab minority, the Berbers had their language and culture suppressed under the Gaddafi regime.
They joined the revolt against his rule in February, and made up the bulk of the fighters who first swept into Tripoli in mid-August.
They are in a loose alliance with the NTC, but Benghazi is a long way from the Berber heartlands near the Tunisian border.
Like the battle for Misrata, many Berbers felt that their struggle was largely forgotten in the hurly-burly that accompanied Col Gaddafi's fall from power.
Ali Issawi - NTC foreign affairs
Ali Issawi resigned as Libyan ambassador to India on 21 February in protest at the government's "use of violence against its citizens" and deployment of "foreign mercenaries against Libyans".
He later became a foreign affairs representative of the NTC and deputy head of the Executive Board.
Mr Issawi served under Gaddafi as minister of economy, trade and investment. He was the youngest person to have occupied the post.
But following a cabinet reshuffle in March 2009, Mr Issawi was left without a post. A leaked US diplomatic cable said the French embassy in Tripoli believed the move was "related to accusations of corruption".
However, the cable also said that he had tried to resign several times over disagreements with the senior leadership.
Ahmed al-Zubair Ahmed al-Sanussi - NTC political prisoners
The 77-year-old dissident was Libya's most prominent "prisoner of conscience".
He was accused of conspiracy in an attempted coup against Col Gaddafi in 1970 and spent 31 years in prison, many of them in solitary confinement. He was released in August 2001, on the 32nd anniversary the revolution.
"Every time a door opened, I never knew if it was going to be someone taking me to my execution," he told the BBC.
"Now we are trying to build a new country under the rule of law. We are united. Tripoli is our capital, Benghazi is our city. It will be difficult after 42 years of Gaddafi. It will take a long time. But the Libyan spirit is there. The people understand. They can wait."
Mr Zubair is the lone descendant of Libya's last king, Idris al-Sanussi, among the rebel leadership.
Other members of the NTC
Fathi Mohammed Baja is responsible for political affairs in Benghazi. The US-educated university lecturer helped to draft a manifesto for the rebellion which had two major principles: national unity and democracy.
Fathi Tirbil Salwa is spokesman on young people. The lawyer and activist organised one of the early protests that snowballed into a national uprising.
Salwa al-Dighaili is responsible for women and legal affairs. The Benghazi-based lawyer was also a key figure in the early protests against Gaddafi.