LIBYA: From 0 to 40: LWPP Advocacy Effort Secures Major Representation for Women in New Libyan Assembly

Thursday, February 9, 2012
Shabab Libya
Northern Africa
PeaceWomen Consolidated Themes: 
Reconstruction and Peacebuilding

The Libyan Women's Platform for Peace (LWPP) welcomes the passage of a new electoral law, which guarantees women at least 40 seats on the 200-member Constituent Assembly that will draft the country's new constitution.

Libya's National Transitional Council adopted the law at 11PM on Wednesday February 8th after a month-long campaign led by the LWPP and other civil society groups forced the NTC to delay and then scrap an initial, more restrictive draft law put forward by the council.

As soon as the electoral law was announced, the LWPP organized protests and commissioned the drafting of an alternative electoral law that contained a range of provisions to ensure women's representation and other changes. The finalized text relies heavily on language of the LWPP law, which was drafted by a team of leading legal experts.

“It hasn't been an easy battle, but we thank all the members of our legal team including Saleh El-Merghani, Dr Koni Abuda, Ali Dawi, Alhadi Abu Hanra and all the civil society members and youth groups who joined protests in public squares all around Libya in favor of a more equitable and inclusive electoral law,” said Zahra' Langhi of the Libyan Women's Platform for Peace.

A quota of 10% representation for women was in the initial version of the law released in late January, but this provision was subsequently dropped in later versions of the bill which were made public.

The finalized version does not provide for a quota for women, but rather guarantees women's representation by requiring parties to alternate male and female candidates on their lists. Because 80 seats of the 200-member assembly are allocated to party lists, 40 women will be guaranteed seats in the assembly.

“I would like to congratulate the LWPP for working very hard to achieve this victory for women,” said Hibaaq Osman of Karama. It gives me a great deal of confidence and this is a clear indication that things are moving in the right direction, because what's good for women is ultimately good for Libya.”