Libya: Promoting public engagement with the Constitution

The development of a new Constitution is a central pillar of a peaceful political transition in Libya. While the Peacemakers’ Network recognised the importance of the Constitution during the transition process, they had concerns that few communities across the country had access to credible information about the draft Constitution text, or measured debate about what the purpose of a Constitution is. Joint analysis by the Peacemakers’ Network members indicated an urgent need to foster constructive public debate about the Constitution to overcome citizen apathy and disengagement from a key part of the country’s transition process. Peacemakers’ Network member Ms Khadija Elboashi, Lecturer in Law at Tripoli University, said: “What was disappearing from the debate is any understanding of what a Constitution is and what role it plays in the life of a nation.”

To this end, two members of the Peacemakers’ Network, from different parts of Libya, took the lead in developing a campaign on public engagement with the Constitution drafting process. Due to the highly polarised nature of traditional media and social media in Libya, the Peacemakers’ Network opted for an approach of direct, face-to-face engagement with local leaders and influencers. The Peacemakers’ Network subsequently developed a set of tools and materials for facilitating workshops, town hall meetings and similar events focusing on the Constitution; trained Peacemakers’ Network members in how to use these materials; and embarked on an ambitious project to hold public engagement meetings in all parts of Libya. The Peacemakers’ Network engaged with the Constitutional Drafting Assembly throughout.