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Seeking Security: Public Opinion Survey in Libya

As Libya proceeds through a political transition launched following the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and JMW Consulting are conducting a series of nationwide public opinion surveys with funding from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark. These surveys are designed to assess Libyan attitudes toward the transition, citizen confidence in political leaders and newly created institutions; and to solicit opinions on a range of issues facing the country. Diwan Market Research, a public opinion firm based in Tripoli, Libya, is conducting these surveys in collaboration with JMW Consulting. NDI is utilizing survey findings as part of a broader program to support the development of democratic and representative Libyan political parties.

The report below contains findings from the second survey, conducted nationwide from September 10 to 30, 2013. These findings aggregate the results of face-to-face interviews with 1,200 Libyan respondents. Respondents were randomly selected in a probability-proportional-to-size sampling and were interviewed in all 13 governorates of Libya.

1.This study details Libyan citizens’ opinions on a range of topics, including: the current situation and national direction; the performance of elected institutions; awareness and perceptions of political parties; elections for a constitution-drafting body; the constitutional process and content; the status of women; and security, including attitudes toward militias. The report also includes comparisons with findings from the first survey in this series, conducted in May 2013. The findings yield several broad themes about Libyan views:

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. Libyans hope that the constitution-drafting assembly (CDA) will be comprised of legal
experts and civil society representatives, not tribal leaders or political parties. 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

5. 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.

6. 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.

To read the full report, click here.

National Democratic Institute

This article was originally published here.


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