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[16days_discussion] Fwd: Libya - Women Win 33 Seats in National Assembly Elections

radha paudel rpaudel456 at
Sat Aug 18 09:42:02 EDT 2012

With solidarity !

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: WUNRN ListServe <list at>
Date: 18 August 2012 15:15
Subject: Libya - Women Win 33 Seats in National Assembly Elections
To: WUNRN_ListServe at



Karama - 'Karama’ is the Arabic word for dignity, as well as an initiative
fueled by a coalition of partners as constituencies to build a movement to
end violence against women in the Middle East and North Africa.


****Libya****’s first post-Gaddafi parliamentary elections took place July
7th 2012, reviving a national spirit that brought fireworks to the sky and
people to the streets in celebration.

Sixty-two percent of Libyans turned out for the elections, with over 1.7
million ballots cast and 3,700 candidates, including 624 women, running for

It was the first general election held in ****Libya**** since 1952, and,
despite fears to the contrary, was widely commended by monitors for running
fairly and peacefully, with few instances of interference or violence.

The official results, released nearly ten days following the close of
polls, were another cause for celebration.

Unlike **Egypt** and **Tunisia**, which saw Islamist parties take the
majority of votes, ****Libya**** announced a new parliament largely
composed of an alliance of liberal parties.

"It is clear that ****Libya**** has embarked on the road to an inclusive
democracy as measured by the fact that women have been elected to the new
assembly,” said Hibaaq Osman, founder and CEO of Karama. “Congratulations
goes to the efforts of the courageous and dignified women of ****Libya****.
We know that this did not happen by coincidence. It was these women who
relentlessly worked to make this happen."****

“It feels wonderful, especially now that we’ve changed the whole equation
of the Arab Spring.” commented Zahra’ Langhi of the Libyan Women’s Platform
for Peace <>.****

Led by former interim Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril, the National Forces
Alliance, which is made up of at least 58 parties, won 39 out of the 80
seats reserved for political parties.

Meanwhile, the Muslim Brotherhood’s Justice and Construction party won 17
seats, just over 21 percent of the party list 80 seats and 8.5 percent of
the total assembly. The National Assembly will be made up of 200 people in
total and will include 120 independents, the allegiances of whom are
largely unknown.

But the greatest victory was for inclusion and representation of women.
Forty percent of the voters were women and women candidates won 33 seats—32
through party lists and 1 independent. Women won approximately 16.5 percent
of seats, closer to the percentages of Western nations like **France** and
the ****United States****.

A total of 624 women registered as candidates—540 through political parties
and 84 as independents. A number of women candidates planning to run as
independents reportedly crossed over to run for the 80 seats allocated to
political parties in order to benefit from built-in party support and
resources, as well as a higher chance of winning due to the “zipper list,”
which required parties to ensure that women were included on the lists in
alternating slots both horizontally and vertically.

Karama worked with partners in **Libya** to launch a coalition of women,
men and youth leaders from all walks of life in October 2011 in ****Cairo***
*. This coalition, the Libyan Women’s Platform for Peace (LWPP), has grown
over the past few months to hold trainings and build campaigns for women’s
inclusion in the new assembly.****

Several women, who are affiliated to the LWPP, have run as candidates in
the elections. Two of the co-founders, Asma Seriaba and Amina al-Meghairbi,
won seats in the elections.

Ms. Seriaba who ran as a candidate in the political list of the National
Coalition in Surman shared, “In all cases whether running only or actually
winning a seat, women are victorious for they played a distinctive role in
the revolution and they will continue to do so in the stage of building the
Libyan constitutional state, which will uphold the rights and freedom of
its citizens. So we hope to become the voice of Libyan women’s ambitions
and aspirations.”

Ms. al-Meghairbi, from the National Coalition in ****Benghazi**** shared
similar positivity when learning of the election tallies. “The results of
the elections, [with] women winning 16.5 percent of the seats of the
National Congress reinforce the role women have played after the 17th
February Revolution…We also hope in future elections women would achieve
better results and that is possible after a study of the election law and
assuring what is positive about it. The zipper list, the vertical and the
horizontal alternation, has definitely contributed in increasing women's
representation. Yet the negative aspect of the election law is the
nontransferable vote system which has affected the result of women,” she
said, citing the fact that several competent women ran as independents but
only one woman was elected.

In late 2011 and early 2012, the LWPP successfully lobbied for the
above-mentioned alternative electoral zipper list, which would guarantee
women half of the 80 seats set aside for political parties. However, the
new electoral law also included districting specifications that split up
the 80 seats to ensure “proportional representation” such that the 40 seats
was no longer a guarantee.

Prior to the elections, the LWPP launched a campaign to lobby for fair
distribution of electoral districts calling for the 80 seats designated to
party lists to be selected in a single district national election. The
final election law, however, designated a proportional districting law
where seats were assigned to each district based on geography and eligible
votes. The division of constituencies into an odd number reduced
opportunity for women’s inclusion.****

Still, the zipper list was a significant victory for women and in a way,
more meaningful than a quota. “It sends a stronger message than only
appointing women and giving them side seats. Women are engaged in all the
processes: not only seats in the national congress but also in the
political parties. This way it establishes that women from the very
beginning—at the seed of political life—established with political parties
– and has as a condition that women should be partnering with men,”
remarked Zahra’ Langhi of the LWPP.

“If it wasn’t for LWPP’s partnership with the legal team that drafted the
alternative law , we wouldn’t have the presence of women, yet there is
still work to be done, said Langhi. “For the first time, women were there
as founders and partners of the political parties and now they need to
continue this role, leading the charge in government with regard to the
constitution and national reconciliation. “We want to empower women with
the right tools to become agents of peace and national reconciliation in
order to become equal partners in rebuilding ****Libya****.”****

For more on the Libyan Women’s Platform for Peace, please visit
www.lwpp.organd their Facebook
Photo courtesy of
a Creative Commons license.

To contact the list administrator, or to leave the list, send an email to:
wunrn_listserve-request at Thank you.

Radha Paudel
*Action Works Nepa*l
email: rpaudel456 at
          actionworksnepal.awon10 at
Skype: rpaudel456
Cell: 977-9849596298
*Your Any Contribution Always Makes Difference for
Let's Live Together-Miteri Gaun' Campgain*
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