The new Libya, in draft

I had the privilege of spending a good part of today with Fathi Mohammed Baja, who represents Benghazi on the Libyan Transitional National Council (TNC) and chairs the TNC’s Political Affairs Advisory Committee, as well as Ali Saeid Ali, who is the TNC’s Secretary General.  I’ll have more to say (without quoting individuals from the off the record conversation) about what I learned from a wide-ranging discussion tomorrow.  In the meanwhile, here is Libya’s Draft Constitutional Charter for the Transitional Stage.

For those who want the juicy bits right away, turn to Article 28, which outlines the transitional “roadmap.”  This is still very much in discussion and subject to change.  One of the striking things about the roadmap is that it leads quickly to elections.  It was clear from the discussion that this is a strongly felt need in Benghazi, not at all an imposition from outside.  The method of selection/election of the Constitutional Authority and whether the TNC will enlarge or a new body will be formed once Tripoli and other areas are liberated is still being discussed.

Article 1 contains the religion clause:  “Islam is the Religion of the State and the principal source of legislation is Islamic Jurisprudence.”  Rights of non-Moslems are guaranteed, including “respect for their systems of personal status.”

The charter excludes any member of the TNC, of the interim government it establishes or of the local councils from major future national office (Article 29).  Nor are members of the TNC allowed to assume other public offices (Article 20).  The nepotism rules in Article 20 are also notable, as are the extensive guarantees of human rights in Part Two.

Article 6 is almost poignant:  “Libyans are brothers and their official relationship shall be based on law…”  The new Libya is intended to be a state formed by citizens (Article 1: the people are the source of authorities).

Best that you read the whole thing.  How could anyone not wish these brave folks success in their aspirations, even as we worry about whether they can be achieved?


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