Constitution-Making Process Workshop for Candidates of Constitutional Drafting Assembly (CDA) in Libya

09 Feb 2014

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Constitution-Making Process Workshop for Candidates of Constitutional Drafting Assembly (CDA) in Libya

February 9, 2014: Tripoli, Libya: The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) organizes a series of workshops in partnership with UN Support Mission in Libya for 560 Candidates for Constitutional Drafting Assembly (CDA) under a theme “Inclusive Constitution” from 1st–9th of February 2014 in the Corinthia Hotel, Tripoli.

The workshop provides the CDA candidates with basic information on constitutional concepts and on constitution-making processes. Four constitutional experts from the Arab region are facilitating the workshops and provide theoretical concepts on constitution, human rights and gender equality as well as examples and case studies from other countries of the region. The participants who are coming from different parts of Libya are divided into eight groups and each group of around 60 candidates are undertaking a one day training workshop.
In the opening ceremony of the workshops, UNDP country director said that offering training to all CDA candidates recognizes the critical role that they will all play in the constitution-making process, either as elected members of the CDA or as instrumental civil society leaders. He further emphasized that “the constitution is the framework of the social contract between Libya and its people with the ultimate aim to provide the political stability and social justice.” He highlighted the importance of supporting both the CDA and civil society in their engagement in the constitution-making process. Public participation in the process is critical to ensure the ownership and inclusiveness of the new constitution which is why all of the candidates are important.

The overall objective of organizing such workshops is to make the candidates to actively participate in the constitution making process, either as elected members or civil society acting outside of the assembly representing of their geographical locations. Already plans are underway to raise the awareness for elections to the 60-member constitution-drafting Assembly that will be held on 20th February 2014. The High National Election Commission (HNEC), a national counterpart for UNDP, in elections will launch a campaign on mass media as one of the measures to make the public fully aware of the poll and its importance. To this effect, UNDP has been working in pre-election preparations to support the national counterparts and civil society organizations.

The current roadmap for the political transition in Libya includes process of drafting of a new constitution by a Constitution Drafting Assembly (CDA) to be elected by the people directly. The new constitutional draft will be approved by popular referendum according to the roadmap.

The workshop is relevant as it coincided with the announcement for commencing the election campaigns for CDA. Dr Reida El-Oakley, one of the participants of the workshop described the training as one of the support that the UN is providing to Libya’s transformation into democracy. He further underlined that the workshop was really interesting, refresher and informative. “I can say that I have gained knowledge about constitution making process, its practical implementation as well as experiences of other countries in drafting inclusive constitution”, said Dr El-Oakley. For some of the participants, the workshop was really a prompt initiated by UNDP in supporting the candidates to upgrade their knowledge in constitution. “The refresher course will help me in my future efforts to serve the Libyan people and thanks to UNDP for organizing this”, said Dr Reida El Oakley, candidate for Toubreg, El-mukhaili and Guppa and other nearby poll stations.

Many participants are benefiting from series of trainings provided by UNDP Libya. Mrs. Khadigja Mohammed, a CDA candidate from Benghazi, noted that the coming few months Libya will witness a paramount event in its history. She added that “as the country is on the verge of organizing national election for CDA she finds the workshop extremely timely, providing her with an opportunity to gain knowledge on the constitution-making process, systems of government and governance, and the rights of minority groups and women in constitution” and thanked UNDP for its timely support.

As part of its backing to the tarsntion to democrassy process in Libya, UNDP started its support through awareness raising, dialogues, round table discussions with civil society and academic community. In 2013, as part of the preparation for elections, UNDP in cooperation with University of Tripoli/Faculty of Law organized a seminar "Constitutional roadmap in Libya under a theme promises and expectations. In addition to this, UNDP has provided support to civil society with a focus on outreach and civic education. To ensure women’s participation in constitutional review process, a training of Facilitators’ workshop aimed at building the capacities of local facilitators who will run local dialogue sessions was conducted by UNDP for women in 20 locations throughout the country. Moreover, UNDP organized several skills building initiatives focusing on women candidates for Constitutional Drafting Assembly (CDA). The workshop targeted women candidates to provide and equip women with relevant advocacy and lobbying tools useful in election campaigns.

Libya’s legislative body, the General National Congress, in February 2013 resolved the long-standing dispute over the manner in which members of the Constitution Drafting Assembly (CDA) would be selected. It opted for the election of a 60-member body and currently 684 approved candidates are running for the seats. Six seats are reserved for women and another six for the three minority communities.