Democracy Fatigue in Libya

by Mohaned Eljarh

Libyans headed to the polls on Feb. 20 to elect their Constituent Assembly, the body in charge of drafting the country’s constitution. The elections took place amid a deteriorating security situation and deepening political polarization. Only 45 percent of the 1.1 million voters turned up to cast their votes. That’s less than 14 percent of the eligible voters in the country.

In July 2013, the General National Congress (GNC), Libya’s legislative body, passed an electoral law for elections to the Constitutional Assembly, a small but crucial step toward drafting a new constitution. Even so, there were serious questions about the inclusiveness of the overall process. For one thing, the law allocated only six seats for women and only six seats altogether for the three minority groups (the Tubu, Tuareg, and Amazigh/Berbers). This half-hearted attempt to include the minorities in the constitution drafting committee backfired, since it offered no real guarantees and safeguards to ensure their rights. It failed to accommodate the minorities’ narratives and their specific populist issues (such as the constitutional status of Tamazight, the Berber language). The Amazigh and Tebu both boycotted the elections and refused to take part.

Libya is a country in great turmoil, pray for the leadership, pray for peace, pray that the Holy Spirit would direct this nations steps.


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