4-10 May 2014
In addition to visiting their constituencies last week to gather public feedback, CDA delegates met with womens’ groups at an event organized by the UN on 8 May 2014. The topic was empowering Libyan women in the political process. Ali Tarhuni, the head of the Constitutional Drafting Committee, spoke on empowering Libyan women in the political process, reassuring those present that they would be included in the constitutional drafting process saying, “you are half of this society and you fought hard to be within it”. Tarhuni also stressed that the drafting committee is an independent body that will work to produce a document that represents all of Libya and will not be dominated by any one group. According to attendee Amal Elhaj, the CDA agreed on a way to keep lines of communication open and asked civil society groups to join in keeping in touch with the committee.
(Revised 24 May 2014)
27 April – 3 May 2014
On 1 May 2014, the Constitution Drafting Assembly held a press conference in which CDA President Ali Tarhuni announced that the assembly had agreed upon rules of procedure that will govern their proceedings. While referencing the importance of transparency and inclusiveness in the process (see relevant editorial here), Ali Tarhuni indicated that all assembly members will carry out public outreach in their election districts next week and that the CDA rules of procedure will be published and all sessions will be recorded. The CDA also released a photo of the members that have been present at deliberations this week.
Elections that took place on 26 April 2013 in Murzuk and Kufra have resulted in five further members being elected to the CDA (subject to any arising appeals), including two of the positions reserved for Tebu candidates. Elections for representatives from Obari took place on 3 May 2014, but official results have not yet been released. Arrangements for Derna, and Tukra have still not been finalized.
*Photo credit: Good Morning Libya, available at pic.twitter.com/L8dsLVsaVL
20-26 April 2014
The Constitution Drafting Assembly convened for the first time on Monday, 21 April 2014. Instead of the intended 60, just 47 members were present at Monday's ceremony. The absences have been attributed to security issues during elections and boycotts by the Amazigh and Tebu minority groups. Members of the Constitutional Assembly also held their first talks to elect a president and discuss rules of procedure. Ali Al-Tarhuni, a liberal academic and long-time opponent of the Gaddafi regime who was also in charge of the Finance and Oil office in the Executive Office of the National Transitional Council, was elected President. The committee currently has 120 days under the Constitutional Declaration to draft the new constitution, and seem at this point to have an appetite to accomplish their goal within that time frame.
Preliminarily results from the Constituent Assembly election re-runs in Murzuk and Kufra were also released. While the results are not yet final, some frontrunners have emerged. In the general list in Murzuk, Mohammed Abdusslam Al-Agha is leading the count, but the results from Traghen and Qatrun have not yet been reported, so the situation could change. Preliminarily results for the seat reserved for the Tebu ethnic minority in the area give Khaled Wahli and Saleh Gauma the best chance of winning, while Al-Sanussi Hamed Wahli is considered the favorite for a seat reserved for a Tebu member in Kufra.
*Photo Credit: Wikipedia
Libyan Constitution Updates
11-17 May 2014
The CDA recovened in Al Bayda to work through committee structures and work plans.
18-24 May 2014
Anti-Islamist militias claiming unrepresentative Islamist influence with the GNC attacked GNC offices and set them on fire on Sunday, 18 May, instigating heavy fighting in other parts of the city. In what the GNC called an attempted coup, militia leaders made a statement demanding that the GNC turn power over to the CDA. The GNC attempted to reconvene elsewhere two days later to vote on a new prime minister but were forced to disband when they came under rocket fire.
25-31 May 2014
During a press conference in al Beida (where the assembly is convened in the 1951 legislative hall) on Friday, 23 May 2014, CDA President Ali Tarhouni announced that the Committee had drafted its internal laws, set up committees, and approved a process for communicating with the public. Having completing these tasks, the CDA, he announced, was ready to begin drafting a new constitution for the country. He also announced that the Assembly had created what it is calling a “constitutional map” which defines sources, references, chapters, and titles of the constitution. In an attempt to maintain political independence and limit political influences, the Assembly has established guidelines to govern the political behavior of Assembly members. Finally, in light of last week’s events and Operation Dignity’s ongoing fight under Khalifa Hafter to purge extreme Islamic influences from the government and GNC, Tarhouni reaffirmed the Assembly’s independence from the GNC and commitment to their singular task of writing a constitution.
(See also the CDA’s Facebook page in Arabic here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/الهيئة-التأسيسية-لصياغة-مشروع-الدستور/303809619769752?fref=nf)
1-7 June 2014
Last week, the Constitution Drafting Assembly meeting in al Beida approved their organization into eight different committees, as follows:
Structure of the State and its essential components
Form and system of governance
The judiciary and the Constitutional Court
Independent constitutional bodies
Army and police
Rights and freedoms and transitional measures
Local Government (Administration) local
Fiscal system and natural resources
They also discussed plans for popular consultation. Currently, 55 of 60 members are assembled in al Beida. Seats for two members from Derna, two Amazigh representatives, and that for the member from Tobruk removed by the Political Isolation Committee remain unfilled.
30 June - 5 July 2014
The CDA returned from their national tour, and have begun to work through substantive issues (although presumably at a slower pace due to Ramadan). They have formally requested UNSMIL to set up an office in Al Bayda, help with media and strategic communications, assess other support options, and that they coordinate all international assistance.
15-21 June 2014
Last week the CDA continued their national tour. Also, International Idea's Libyan Constitution-Building Manual is now available in English here. This and other Libya-specific constitutional resources are available on www.libertascc.com.
8-14 June 2014
On 8 June, Ali Tahourni and Deputy Jelani Rohuma, along with 30 other CDA members, began a national tour that lasted the entire week to stimulate dialogue and promote Libyan unity. As the tour did little to assuage the Amazigh boycott of the constitutional process, the CDA set up a committee to negotiate with the Amazigh in an effort to reach a compromise and end the boycott. Two of sixty seats (2/5 that are currently unfilled) are specifically designated for the Amazigh within the Assembly. The Amazigh are the last remaining ethnic minority group to boycott the process after agreements were reached with representatives for the Tebu and Tuareg groups.
6-12 July 2014
Since returning from their tour of Libyan cities, CDA committees have been engaged in debates related to their respective areas of responsibility. Committees working on undisputed matters, such as the borders of the country, have drafted articles, while others continue in the discussion phase.
13-19 July 2014
The CDA members went on leave on 17 July and are to meet again in Al Beyda one week after the end of Ramadan. Leading the list of matters to be discussed will be the constitution drafting time frame.
Two options are being informally discussed so far: a) extending the drafting process until the end of December 2014; b) extending the process by a longer period provided they do not exceed the 18 month time frame that is mandated in the Interim Constitutional Declaration's 7th amendment.
20-26 July 2014
The CDA continued their recess last week before the end of Ramadan on Sunday, the 27th.
22-30 June 2014
The CDA arrived back in al Beida from their national tour on Saturday, 29 June.
27 July-2 Aug 2014
Despite a deepening security crisis, the CDA is scheduled to reconvene in Al Beyda on the 17th of August and resume discussions about a new timeline and the role of international experts among other things.
3-9 Aug 2014
The CDA is still on leave until August 27th. However, some members from the South have been engaged in constituent meetings as reported here. There is some question whether all members will be returning to Al Bayda on the 27th, officially due to security reasons.
Although the member of the Secretariat advising the CDA on foreign affairs, Ahmed Gebril, reported that a draft constitution would be available in a few weeks, the CDA spokesperson denied this and called Mr. Gebril to order as reported here.
Since this snafu, the CDA has appointed a Libyan journalist to coordinate communications and outreach for the body.
10-16 Aug 2014
The CDA were on leave through the 16th (they planned to reconvene on Sunday, the 17th), when their 120-day Constitutional Declaration-mandated timeline expired. It is assumed, however, that committees are yet working, and members meeting with constituencies.
A further edit to last week's update is that Mr. Gebril indicated in his speech that a first, not a final, draft of the constitution would be submitted to "a national general debate by the people and CSOs" within two months. All of this was denied by the spokesperson.
In the same speech, Mr. Gebril stated that the CDA "will ask for an extension," as their four-month deadline expired last Saturday.
There may be many reasons why the CDA has not yet asked the Chamber of Representatives (COR) for an extension. One interpretation is that, given the case before the Supreme Court regarding the constitutionality of the Tobruq meetings, the mere request could be perceived as recognition of the COR's session, triggering a strong reaction from Missratan members. Another interpretation is that the CDA believe itself independent and able to set their own deadlines, regardless of the Constitutional Declaration.
In other news, a great piece on the state of Libyan affairs and how the international community might yet be helpful was written by two recipients of this update, Duncan Pickard and Chibli Mallat. It ran 15 August in the Washington Post here.
Special thanks to Omar Hammady and his staff at Democracy Reporting, who remain in Tripoli, for their recent help relaying information for this update.
17-23 Aug 2014
The CDA reconvened on the 17th and drafting committees are working but engaged only in general debates. Draft articles have not yet been circulated. In an interview with Al-Arabiya TV, CDA president Ali Tarhuni indicated that a draft would be submitted for public discussion and debate by December 2014, to be followed by revision and resubmission for referendum. (This information aligns with the interview CDA spokesperson Sidig Dressy gave on Al-Assema TV to dispel rumours that CDA members were on indefinite holiday.)
In terms of timing, the 120 days allotted by Article 30 of the Constitutional Declaration has now expired, but there is unanimity among CDA members that the timeline be extended to at least March of 2015. A formal request was drafted in July and will now be submitted.
The CDA is now seriously considering the role of national and international experts.
Although related more to their work this week, a CDA delegation; including Al Tarhuni, the general rapporteur, and representatives from the eight drafting committees; are now in Tunis to meet with the Tunisian Constituent Assembly and Libyan diaspora.
Many thanks for your continued coordination, especially to DRI and Libertas research assistant Travis Zirker, in preparing these updates.
24-30 Aug 2014
This past week, President of the Constitutional Drafting Committee, Ali Tarhouni, travelled to Tunisia to meet with leaders of Tunsia’s National Constituent Assembly (NCA). While there, they discussed the ongoing drafting process in Libya as well as the affect that the Tunisian process is having on the region. Tarhouni expressed his feelings about the process saying, “the success of the Tunisian experience will have a positive impact on the whole region.” Members of the Libyan delegation also briefed the NCA delegation about the content of the future constitution.
As a confirmation from last week's update, the CDA is planning on preparing a first draft of the constitution by December 2014. Work has gone slower than anticipated because Tarhouni has required committees to justify the basis, principles, and historical backgrounds for all draft texts.
One edit to last week's update is necessary: the CDA submitted a report to the House of Representatives on 22 August, two days before their Constitutional Declaration-mandated August 24th completion deadline. There is some question as to whether an extension--and the length of that extension--was included in the report.
The CDA is becoming more open to out-of-country visits due to the security situation, and anticipate a delegation visiting Egypt in the immediate future.