Libya: time for a reset?



Libya may descend into a “free-fall” if the peace process among its myriad of political actors is not “reset”, a new report warns. An accord between rival factions reached last December failed to calm the political turbulence, the International Crisis Group cautions.

“A year ago, the conflict was between rival parliaments and their associated governments; today it is mainly between accord supporters and opponents, each with defectors from the original camps and heavily armed,” said the report, published last Friday.

“The accord’s roadmap, the idea that a caretaker government accommodating the two parliaments and their allies could establish a new political order and reintegrate militias, can no longer be implemented without change.”

Libya’s municipal councils are viewed as one of the most legitimate authorities in the country, due to their status as elected bodies, according to a new nationwide poll (above) and the findings of focus groups conducted by the International Republican Institute’s Center for Insights in Survey Research in collaboration with USAID/OTI’s Libya Transition Initiative 2 (LTI2):

Despite a general lack of knowledge of the responsibilities of the councils, a majority of respondents indicated their interest in participating in local governance…. Nationwide, municipal councils were seen as the most legitimate local actor representing constituents (33 percent), compared with elders/tribal leaders, parliamentarians, civil society and businessmen. However, when broken out by community, elders/tribal leaders were seen as most legitimate in Sabha and Ubari.

“This poll and the accompanying focus groups demonstrate a positive correlation between elected bodies and political legitimacy among Libyans,” said Scott Mastic, IRI Regional Director, Middle East and North Africa. “However, there is clearly a deficit of knowledge of the functions of the municipal councils. In the future, these bodies should focus on expanding their outreach to educate citizens on the active role they can play in local government.”

IRI is a core institute of the National Endowment for Democracy.

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