Zapatero: “Libya has the opportunity to become a democratic model for the arab world”

“Libya has the historic opportunity to become a model for an Arab country that demonstrates that its national and religious identity goes hand in hand with democracy,” Zapatero said to the worktable attendees. “You star in a historic opportunity that is going to mark the future of Libya. Future generations of Libyan are going to be able to be free and to realize their dreams thanks to people like you,” emphasized the former President of Spain, who has also stressed that the European Union ought to be a “great ally” in this process.

 The role of political parties, the importance to civil society, the rule of law and political participation, social reconciliation and transitional justice were the principal themes about which the former President advised the twelve local leaders, who are representatives of Libyan civil society (political parties members, electoral commissions members, city council journalists, NGO members) from five cities: Darna, Benghazi, Azawia, Zelitin, and Ubary.

  “Political parties are essential to democracy. One has to organize them well, regulate them,” Zapatero recommended. The former President also shared two ideas that he considers essential to the construction of a democracy. Firstly, the generation of a consensus and the search for national reconciliation, which he illustrated with examples of democratic transitional. Furthermore, he emphasized the importance of “articulating the decision making process from the beginning. [It is important] to provide good rules to the government and institutions. This process must respond to certain priorities, since without them there is no direction. And without direction, the task of the government is diluted, uncoordinated, and loses its central meaning.” Additionally, Zapatero explained his vision of what out to be the unity that will sustain a democracy in Libya: “The willingness to unite and compromise between differences requires a common force. An identity as Libyan people. Identity is, above all, how we see the rest of the world. A country is respected if it respects itself.

 This activity in Spain is organized in the framework of Project SUDEL (Support of Democracy in Libya by the Club de Madrid, the European Center for Electoral Support (ECES), the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy (NIMD), and the European Alliance for Democracy (EPD).