IFES Trains Libyan Diplomats on Electoral Processes
From August 24-26, 2016, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) hosted the first ever governance workshop for members of Libya’s Washington D.C.-based diplomatic corps. The workshop was organized by the Consortium for Elections and Political Process Strengthening’s “Libyan Elections Governance Support” project, a U.S. Agency for International Development- (USAID) funded initiative. The corps, under the leadership of Wafa Bughaighis, the Chargé d'affaires at the Libyan embassy in Washington, successfully completed a multi-day, tailored leadership training program on key effective strategies for achieving sustainable democratic governance in post-conflict Libya. The USAID-funded training provided the 17 members of the corps with tools and resources to bolster awareness among participants about the standards that are used globally to assess democratic governance and electoral processes. Through analysis and discussion, participants explored some of the main challenges and priorities facing Libya’s leaders in managing the transitional electoral process, such as building public trust in the elections and peacebuilding process; legal reforms; upholding human rights; national security; and inclusion of women, persons with disabilities, and minorities.
IFES’ global experts offered insight and expertise centered around strategies for managing election conflict and security; providing participants with both real world examples and research methodologies. They introduced the various electoral events that are likely to take place in Libya’s near future, including the constitutional referendum and the parliamentary and presidential elections. The challenges and issues which must be taken into account by electoral authorities and the government to adequately prepare for these events were featured throughout the training. During the workshops’ break-out sessions, participants identified the risks facing the Libyan elections and the role that the Embassy can play in engaging Libya’s diaspora community to participate in the process. Participants also identified the main challenges for upholding international standards for elections, human rights, and diplomacy, and mechanisms for effective stakeholder engagement and consultation.
Since 2012, IFES has worked with a variety of stakeholders, including its main interlocutor, Libya’s High National Election Commission (HNEC), as well as civil society organizations to increase public confidence in the integrity of elections as a vehicle for peaceful and meaningful democratic change. Through the “Libyan Elections Governance Support” project, IFES’ programming builds the capacity of the HNEC, provides training for judges on resolving electoral disputes, works to institutionalize civil society as a hub for dialogue and civic participation, enhances the participation of women in the political process, and increases access for persons with disabilities.