TUNIS, April 29, 2016: The Libyan Institute for Advanced Studies (LIAS) carried out a focus group in cooperation with the Berghof Foundation on critical issues related to the ongoing Libyan National Dialogue. The aim of the focus group was to inform and support the development of a National Dialogue Handbook to be published by the Berghof Foundation.
The 12 participants included Libyans representing a range of social, tribal and political perspectives. Intensive discussions covered a range of questions related to the Libyan National Dialogue. The group carried on a spirited and sometimes heated debate on concerns over the legitimacy of the Dialogue as it is being carried out, ownership of the Dialogue, levels of inclusivity, mechanisms for decision-making, how decisions should be implemented, the principles of the Dialogue process, mandate and support mechanisms and other burning issues.
Some of the most contentious discussions questioned the fairness of the Dialogue, whether it was carried out with respect for Libyan traditions, whether there was transparency during the process, and whether the Government of National Accord was actually formed with any reference to or respect for the National Dialogue.
“The Libyan National Dialogue has been fraught with controversy,” said LIAS Director Mohamed Htewish, “and this has impacted on popular support for the nascent Government of National Accord. It is only through frank and open discussion on the successes and failings of the National Dialogue process that we will find the way forward. The insights we can mine from this focus group will help provide both an assessment and recommendations to help improve the Dialogue.”
The content of the focus group discussions will be used to contribute to a case study on the challenges the Libyan National Dialogue faces in terms of legitimacy and affecting constructive outcomes. The case study will, in turn, support the development of the National Dialogue Handbook and will be released as a separate publication within the framework of the National Dialogue Handbook project.