Tripoli, 10 November:
Members of the National Congress have begun a five-week training programme focusing on the practicalities of parliamentary democracy and the constitutionalisation process.
The course has been organised by the European Union as part of its support to the Congress and Libya’s transition to democracy and will commence on Monday 12 November.
More than 70 Congressmen and women attended the opening ceremony on Wednesday, including National Congress President Mohamed Magarief.
The programme will focus on four main areas, including an induction programme for Congress members; assistance on constitutional affairs; assistance to establish a secretariat; and assistance on institutional arrangements.
A range of senior European experts will be involved in the programme, including former prime ministers, active politicians and officials from several European parliaments. Parallel activities will be organised in support of the administrative staff of the Congress and the future public affairs department.
Speaking at Wednesday’s opening ceremony, the EU’s Ambassador to Libya Peter Zsoldos told Congress members that they “represent the success of the Libyan transition process” to democracy and said the EU was committed to supporting Libya as it sought to emerge from decades of authoritarian rule.
Prior to this year, the last time a parliamentary election held in Libya was in 1965, when no political parties were allowed.
With almost 170 million dinars committed for the period up to the end of 2013, the EU is the largest donor to Libya in the world. It has projects in public administration, democratic transition, civil society and education amounting to more than 61 million dinars, with a further 107 million dinars planned to cover urgent priorities such as security, the rule of law, health, migration, vocational education and training. [/restrict]