Libya is building a new state and political order in the context of unique and difficult legacies compared to other Arab Spring countries. The primary challenge faced by Libya’s leaders is that of statelessness—the fatal weakness of central state institutions—that is a legacy of the Qadhafi regime, and before that the post–World War II kingdom. Challenges of statelessness cut across chronic problem areas in Libya’s transition, including reining in militias outside of state control, justice-sector reform, constitution making, and economic development. Such an institutional void reinforces already low levels of social trust and negatively impacts the legitimacy of the central government and the democratization process more generally. It also empowers Islamism and other illiberal ideologies as the potential bases on which to build a new Libyan identity.