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IU Law Professor Helps Libyans With Constitution, Elections

Rebels of the '17 February Revolution' are seen fighting loyalist gunmen at the entrance of Abu Salim area on August 25, 2011. With Gadahfi gone, ow Libyans must come together to agree on how to hold elections.

After a revolution that overthrew Dictator Moammar Gadhafi, Libyans are preparing for to elect new leaders. But much still needs to be decided to ensure free and fair elections.

Indiana University Maurer School of Law Professor David Williams was part of a U.K.-based group that met with Libyan leaders in Tunisia to help them come to a consensus on election procedures. He recently returned from a trip overseas where he spoke with Libyan leaders about the creation of a constitution and procedures for their upcoming elections.

Williams says the key thing is to make sure the transitional council decides on an process that is fair to all Libyans.

“Different electoral laws will have radically different political consequences,” he says. “But on the face of things when you look at them, you don’t realize they will have radically different political consequences.”

During the week-long talks, the group devised a hybrid election system that Williams says will be more fair to all parties involved, both Muslim and secular. The proposed system would also create a quota for the number of female candidates.

“If Libya actually adopts it, it will be the most progressive country in the region when it comes to electoral law for women,” he says.

Williams says Libya must hold elections before June because of a United Nations mandate. After that, the new government will have 60 days to ratify a constitution. Williams urged Libyans to extend this period, but says nothing can be changed without the consensus of all parties involved.

Click the play button on the top of the page to hear more of the interview with Professor David Williams.

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