Tripoli, 27 June:
The length of time Libya’s constitution-writing committee will have to produce a permanent constitution after the 7 July elections . . .[restrict]has been doubled, it was announced today.
Government spokesman Nasser Al-Manaa also revealed potential changes to the way the committee would be selected, although a final decision has yet to be made.
Under Libya’s Constitutional Declaration of 3 August 2011, the committee was allowed just 60 days to produce a draft constitution for ratification, first by the National Conference and then in a public referendum. That period has now been extended to 120 days.
The Constitutional Declaration also envisaged the committee being directly appointed by the National Conference, although it was not stipulated exactly how this appointment would take place. It was, however, understood that the committee would be 60 members strong, with 20 members being appointed from each of Libya’s three regions, Tripolitania, Cyrenaica and Fezzan.
Now, it is intended that the committee will be selected either by bloc votes within the National Conference, with members voting only for committee delegates from their three respective regions, or else directly by the Libyan people in regional elections.
Considerable concern exists about the logistics of organising another nationwide election so soon after 7 July, particularly if it were to take place during Ramadan. On the other hand, further delays to finalising such an important document may extend the period of uncertainty currently inhibiting investment and economic growth in Libya.
Given the complexity of constitution writing, there are also concerns about how the public would select appropriate candidates at relatively short notice, as well as the question of whether those most experienced in constitutional issues would themselves stand for election. [/restrict]