By Khadija Ali
The workshop aimed at educating NGOs on the process of elections in Libya in session
In a workshop entitled, “Elections and Effective Citizens”, organised by the Libyan Society of Future and Strategic studies at the “Kabeer” hotel in central Tripoli, Libyan NGOs were given information about the electoral law and the election process so that they in turn can then go and pass on the same knowledge via similar workshops to their communities.
The workshop, whose purpose was to educate the NGOs on the subject, was attended by several NGOs from within Tripoli such as, Your voice for awareness and edification and The Libyan-Syrian friendship. Two NGOs from Surman and Mslatta, the Mslatta Observatory who will be observing the upcoming elections, were also in attendance.
The workshop started off by breaking up into several groups to discus the electoral law and to take notes of concerns and suggestions. The discussion led to a heated debate on dual-nationals, who have been deprived by the electoral law from running for elections. Other debated topics included campaign funding and polling stations.
The teams then presented their list of suggestions to the group and helped each other understand unclear points of the law. The legal experts present at the seminar were a great help and put in a lot of effort in explaining articles and terminology related to the law that is difficult by laymen to understand if a legal background.
The second part of the workshop focused on understanding the electoral process on a practical level. This was done by acting it all out and having groups represent parties, independents, an electoral committee and observers.
The parties put together a political campaign and presented it to the “people”, so too did the independents. They then got in line and voted behind a curtain, ending the process with blue-printed left index fingers. All along the observers took notes and then presented what they saw as violations and concerns to the public.
It was a critical experience for people who are going to be hitting the polling stations this June to choose 200 representatives for the national conference that will in turn be putting together the constitution. That is a procedure that too many Libyans totally lack awareness of.
One thing the workshop’s participants complained about was the complete lack of awareness being raised by the media. None of them could understand why the television and sound media spend all day playing music rather than take time to bring along experts to explain to the viewers and listeners what will be happening in this critical stage.
Workshops such as this need to become the norm and be widespread throughout Libya. It made perfect sense that this event was aimed at NGOs in order for them pass on the baton and educate their communities. The objective is to have effective citizens whose votes will determine the destiny and future Libya.
Source: Tripoli Post