By Sami Zaptia.
Tripoli, 28 November 2013:
A public opinion survey financed by the Danish Foreign Ministry and conducted by the American National Democratic Institute (NDI) and the Danish JMW Consulting makes some revealing insights into the views of Libyans on security, democracy, militias, Islam, political parties, women etc.
The survey entitled “Seeking Security”, released this week, was conducted 10-30 September 2013 using face-to-face interviews of 1,200 randomly chosen Libyans from Libya’s 13 Municipalities based on the 2006 census. This is the second opinion survey conducted, the first being in May.
The survey makes six main sets of conclusions including; Libyans are optimistic , are concerned by security, support democracy, are unhappy with the GNC’s performance, reject militias, approve of quotas and an increased role for women in politics.
First, the authors conclude that Libyans are increasingly concerned about the country’s direction. While the proportion of respondents who describe themselves as pessimistic has increased from May to September 2013, a majority (61 percent) remains optimistic. Libyans believe that efforts to disarm militias, promote political stability, and ensure personal security are the most important tasks facing the country.
Despite their growing concerns, Libyans continue to strongly support democracy, with 85 percent of Libyans believing that democracy is the best form of government.
Second, Libyans exhibit growing dissatisfaction with the performance of the General National Congress (GNC). Sixty percent of Libyans now describe the GNC’s performance as poor. The Congress’ approval rating fell by 23 points compared to survey findings in May 2013. Libyans place high importance on GNC members’ efforts to resolve conflict and directly engage citizens.
The third main conclusion reached by the authors is that Libyans view political parties with increased negativity. Forty-four percent of Libyans now believe that parties are not necessary for a democracy. Similarly, favorability ratings for both political parties and political leaders have declined steeply from May to September 2013. In their consideration of which party to support in elections, Libyans continue to identify political factors—party identity, platform, and performance—as more important than local or tribal ties.
Libyans hope that the constitution-drafting assembly (CDA) will be comprised of legal experts and civil society representatives, not tribal leaders or political parties, is the fourth main conclusion of the survey. A majority of Libyans support quotas that reserve seats for women and ethnic minorities in the assembly. Sixty percent of Libyans intend to vote in the CDA elections and seek candidates with legal expertise and a strong commitment to protecting human rights in the constitution.
The fifth conclusion reached by the researchers is that Libyans believe that women should play a greater role in politics. Seventy-one percent of Libyans feel that the degree of women’s participation in the political process has not reached a satisfactory level. A majority believe that quotas similar to those adopted for the GNC elections should be applied to ensure that women are represented in a future national legislature.
The sixth and final set of conclusions reached by the opinion survey is that the vast majority of Libyans have negative perceptions of militias that are not accountable to government authority. Groups formed to combat Gaddafi in 2011 are more likely to be tolerated by Libyans than those created after the fall of the former regime. Libyans support disarming these groups and a large majority support criminalizing firearms by law as an effective means to do so.
For the full survey see: www.jmwconsulting.dk