Friday, 18 January 2013

Final Libya Herald Editorials for 2012

A federalist burns a ballot box in Benghazi on 7 July elections. Many in the east, and elsewhere in Libya, once again feel their views are being ignore with regards to the Constitution. (Photo: George Grant)
Libya Primed for Constitutional Success
30 December 2012

The turbulence and controversy surrounding the production and ratification of Egypt and Tunisia’s draft constitution is proof that not all constitution-making processes are made equal, nor should they be left to chance or political circumstances.
Yet if Libya can learn from its own and world history and the mistakes and successes of its neighbors, and galvanize its strengths, it is in a unique position to develop a thoughtful, inclusive constitutional process that will set precedent for the region....

The Libyan Public's Role in Drafting the Constitution: Part III
7 December 2012

Groups of young veterans, frustrated by unfair economic and political treatment after fighting valiantly in the revolution, forcibly closed government functions in rural areas and attempted a seizure of a strategic weapons stash. Later, these same militants were permitted to participate in discussions regarding the constitution’s passage, opposed it, but then accepted defeat and the new constitution.
Although the above vignette may sound like a page from Libya’s future constitutional history, it is, in fact, the story of a militant group in Massachusetts and their role in opposing, yet later accepting, the U.S. Constitution.
Contrast this to Egypt’s current turmoil, wherein disfavoured groups have been excluded (either by choice or procedural favouritism) in drafting Egypt’s constitution, set for a vote on 15 December.  Protests in Tahrir Square have already resulted in many dead and wounded...

The Libyan Public's Role in Drafting the Constitution: Part II
30 November 2012

The current GNC debate over how the constitutional commission will be chosen—by direct election or GNC nomination—has intensified.  Last Saturday, the Libya Herald reported that 82% of the 8,926 people “polled” on former Prime Minister-elect Mustafa Abushagur’s Facebook page favour elections.  Many of those polled were from the Tripoli area, undermining the theory that the call for elections is coming primarily from the east.
Yet the GNC is reluctant to abdicate a privilege denied them by a controversial National Transitional Council constitutional declarationrendered two days before July elections. Many GNC candidates had campaigned based on their constitutional qualifications.
One way to understand the mounting public pressure for elections is that elections are one of only two ways currently planned for the public to contribute to the constitution-making process. Other than elections, Libyans may participate only through a final referendum. Such a small part is little consolation for those who fought and sacrificed lives, limbs, or family members during the 17 February Revolution...

The Libyan Public's Role in Drafting the Constitution: Part I
23 November 2012 (previously posted, but included here for completion's sake)

Over the past week, the GNC has turned to the question of who should draft the new constitution.  The question is whether drafters should be selected as originally planned in the August 2011 Constitutional Declaration or its amendment immediately prior to the 7 July elections.  The debate raises the question of the role the public should play in drafting the constitution.
This editorial will address the case for public participation in Libya’s constitution creation and recommend several methods for Libyans to participate in the pre-drafting stages.  An editorial to immediately follow in this series will focus on methods of participation after a draft text is produced.
At the core of modern democracy is the idea of popular sovereignty.  It is generally thought that governments are more just and legitimate when the law emanates from the people by their election of lawmakers.  Yet democracy extends beyond voting law-creators into power. The people can and should participate in law creation itself when possible and advisable. Especially in the creation of the fundamental law of the country: the constitution...

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