Constitutional Processes

Libya’s elections without a constitution: a risky gamble


Since the resumption of a political dialogue in November 2020, Libyans have failed to agree on a constitutional and legal framework for the general elections planned for 24 December 2021. With the polls now a few days off, this political deadlock raises doubts about whether the elections can restore the political legitimacy and stability that Libya so badly needs. The lack of an agreed constitutional formula and the lack of regulation for future political authorities risks jeopardizing not only the legitimacy of the electoral process. There is also the management of the post-election period at stake. While the constitutional debate has seen political struggle and instrumentalization, this paper argues that there are also objective risks to holding elections in the absence of an agreed constitutional standard. The author provides some suggestions on how to handle this issue. The crucial importance of reaching a definitive agreement on the core issues that have fuelled conflict for a decade and on the fundamental values that unite Libyans is also set out.

Chile’s path to a new constitution : lessons for Libya?


This paper analyses the unique Chilean constitutional process that emerged out of a country-wide protest movement in October 2019. The protests arose from grievances connected to Chile’s 1980 constitution, which was forged under a military dictatorship and was unsuccessfully reformed in the past thirty years. The ongoing constitutional process is characterised by a plurality and diversity of political and social representation, gender parity, and independent indigenous people’s groups for the first time in Chile’s constitutional history. Chile’s experience could offer valuable lessons to Libya, a country where the constitutional process is heavily politicised and yet to be agreed on by the main political actors.

Libya’s constitution: between conflict and compromise


With the prospect of reaching a peace agreement and holding a general election in Libya by the end of 2021, Libya’s constitutional future has recently gained renewed attention and triggered intense debates. Nevertheless, the constitution-making process initiated in 2014 and the resulting draft constitution issued in 2017 have remained in limbo since then, raising questions about the reasons that caused such a long blockage of the process and the possible fate of the draft constitution in the current peace negotiations. This paper analyses both the internal and external challenges facing the Libyan Constituent Drafting Assembly in drawing up this draft and the reasons that have prevented the completion of the constitution-making process to date. It argues that, although technically flawed and still contested by a number of Libyan actors, the draft constitution embodies the drafters’ efforts at compromise and represents the maximum possibility to build consensus in the conditions of conflict and political divisions in which it was produced.