USAID Continues to Raise Women's Profile and Contributions to Libya's Electoral Reforms

Wednesday, December 21, 2016
Alishibani is seated to the left of the flag.

A first for Libyan women -- Alaa Alshibani -- is the head of the legal department of the country's High National Elections Commission (HNEC). Alshibani, who has been a part of the HNEC since its creation in 2012, is spearheading the commission's progress on electoral law reform. 

In recent months her tireless efforts to enhance the HNEC's credibility has borne fruit. Since 2012, Alshibani has strengthened the HNEC's legal work by pushing to address gaps in Libya's electoral law relating to Electoral Dispute Resolution (EDR) and Campaign Finance Monitoring. The first time she attended a USAID/Libya-supported training she expressed her concern for the HNEC's credibility which was undermined due to EDR-related issues in three past elections. One of her recommendations included working to bridge the differences and resulting tensions between HNEC and Libyan judges. Since then, USAID/Libya has worked diligently to convene HNEC and judges to a series of legal roundtables to discuss and work through these issues. 

Through this support, the two groups have convened, reviewed and codified Libya's electoral legal framework, and crafted a joint-initiative to build the electoral dispute adjudication capacity of both institutions. "The elections process is still new in our country. I was certain we could avoid problems by having a stronger electoral law and more communication between all stakeholders," Alshibani said. 

Alshibani, who has a deep knowledge and experience from the past elections, participated actively in all roundtables. Her contributions were critical to the preparation and finalization of the electoral draft law. "The series of legal roundtables allowed us to consider new aspects of the electoral process, in particular how to reduce electoral disputes by drafting a strong electoral law taking into consideration international best practices. I am sure for the upcoming elections we will work closely and have fewer problems than in the past," Alshibani explained. USAID/Libya continues to work with both bodies. The date for the next election has not yet been set.