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.