Constitutional Transitions’ Faculty Director Professor Sujit Choudhry traveled to Tripoli, Libya in January 2013 to lead a workshop on Constituent Assembly procedures and institutions. The workshop was organized by the West Asia and North Africa office of the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA), and was attended by members of the Legal and Political Affairs Commission of Libya’s parliament, the General National Congress (GNC), legal experts and members of civil society.
Libya’s constitutional transition is currently covered by a Constitutional Declaration issued in August 2011 by the Transitional National Council, which governed Libya after the overthrow of Muammar el-Qaddafi. The Constitutional Declaration sets out an interim constitutional framework to govern Libya, pending the adoption of a final constitutional text. The Declaration provides for the election of a 60-member Constituent Assembly (CA) to lead the constitutional process. Membership of the GNC cannot overlap with the CA, and is drawn evenly from Libya’s three regions.
Professor Choudhry’s presentation set out the range of options that exist for structuring a constitution-making process. Such a process involves a range of different tasks and functions to be performed by different institutions and requires the coordination and management of these activities throughout the multiple stages of the process. If a constitution-making process and the constitution it produces are to be successful, close attention must be paid, before the process begins, to institutional architecture and to the design of the constitution-making process. Professor Choudhry underlined these points by providing specific examples from India and South Africa.