US Calls for Modern Civil Society Law in Libya


During a recent trip to Libya, the US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, Barbara Leaf urged for the rapid “adoption of a modern civil society law that meets international best practices to replace Law 19.”

The US Embassy to Libya tweeted that Leaf was “encouraged to hear from Libyan leaders that Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) would be able to operate normally pending the adoption of a new law.”

The meetings touched on the “importance of rallying local and international efforts for holding the country’s stalled elections by the end of 2023,” according to a statement issued by the Libyan Foreign Ministry.

“The visit came as part of US support for international and local efforts to hold the elections,” the statement added.

On Monday, the US diplomats, including US Envoy to Libya, Ambassador Richard Norland, Chargé d’Affaires, Leslie Ordeman, and Leaf held a meeting with the Commander-in-Chief of the Libyan National Army (LNA), Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar to discuss the political situation in Libya.

They discussed political developments in Libya, and the importance of supporting the efforts of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL). This is through coordination with the Libyan Parliament, and the High Council of State (HCS) to prepare the electoral laws required to hold Presidential and Parliamentary elections in 2023.

On 27 February, Bathily announced an initiative aimed at enabling legislative and Presidential elections this year, and will set up a high-level steering panel, he told the United Nations Security Council earlier this month.

The proposed mechanism will bring together all relevant Libyan stakeholders, including representatives of political institutions, major political figures, tribal leaders, civil society organizations, security actors, women, and youth representatives.

Bathily noted that the initiative will facilitate the adoption of the legal framework and time-bound roadmap to the holding of elections in 2023. The proposed panel will also “provide a platform to advance consensus around related matters, such as election security and the adoption of a Code of Conduct for all candidates,” he added.

Libya is currently facing a political crisis after the Libyan Parliament swore in a new Prime Minister, former Interior Minister, Fathi Bashagha in February 2022. MP’s argued that the incumbent Prime Minister, Abdel-Hamid Dbaiba’s mandate expired when the elections failed to take place.