Program Overview

2018-2023 • $40 million • Implemented by the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES)

Decades of authoritarian rule, instability, and violence have hindered Libya’s transition to a unified government that can maintain security and effectively deliver essential services to all Libyan people. The U.S. government supports the aspirations of the Libyan people to vote for a national government that governs in a transparent, accountable, and inclusive manner for all Libyans. USAID’s Libya Elections and Legislative Strengthening Activity (LELSA) supports Libyan-led initiatives that improve election administration, bolster civic and voter education, and encourage civic and political participation to support the country’s ongoing transition to a stable and democratic state that is free from malign foreign influence. LELSA is a $40 million, five-year program that is being implemented by the Consortium for Elections and Political Process Strengthening (CEPPS), with the National Democratic Institute and the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) as the prime partners. This fact sheet covers IFES’s assistance, which focuses on strengthening electoral systems.

Program Activities

Libyans have the right to decide the fate of their country through free and fair elections. For more than a decade, USAID, through LELSA and previous USAID assistance, has partnered with the High National Election Commission (HNEC) to increase the capacity of Libya’s election bodies to manage electoral processes. LELSA builds the capacity of HNEC, the Central Committee for Local Elections (CCLE), the judiciary, and other government stakeholders to effectively manage and implement transparent and credible electoral and political processes to ensure a peaceful democratic transition. USAID provides technical support and advice on legal frameworks, strategic communications, electoral security and dispute resolution, voter registration, and information technology, while working with civil society partners to provide civic education on electoral and political processes. USAID also partners with the American Bar Association’s Rule of Law Initiative (ABA-ROLI) to raise awareness and understanding of the impact of hate speech and disinformation on the political process. Credible, reliable, and transparent electoral processes are critical to ensure there is public buy-in for Libya’s political transition and that new institutions garner public trust. 

Program Achievements

  • Supported HNEC to develop and manage the national voter registration system, contributing to the registration of over 2.9 million eligible voters in 2021, exceeding the 500,000 goal.
  • Supported the design of the national Voter ID card (voter registration card) and a nationwide outreach campaign about the importance and function of the voter cards. As a result of these efforts, 2.5 million people obtained their cards ahead of the planned December 2021 elections.  
  • Assisted HNEC in drafting regulations governing the implementation of the law on the judicial oversight and election dispute referendums on a permanent constitution.
  • Supported HNEC IT department with hardware and software to ensure timely election results. Developed an election management application and IT solutions for voter registration, polling center identification, observer accreditation, registration of voters abroad, registration of civil society organizations, and registration of candidates and political parties, thereby increasing security and credibility in electoral processes.
  • Collaborated with HNEC to increase the participation of marginalized groups in Libya’s electoral and civic process. Trained 57 women Outreach Ambassadors to encourage women’s participation in elections, particularly in rural communities. Supported citizen-led efforts to mitigate electoral violence against women. Today 1.3 million women are registered to vote - totaling 45 percent of all registered voters.
  • Supported relationship-building between HNEC and the Ministry of Interior to secure elections through planning, reporting, and violence mitigation ahead of the scheduled 2021 elections. Secure elections are key to restoring public faith in safe, accessible, and legitimate electoral processes that foster long-term stability.
  • Helped the CCLE produce outreach materials, conduct electoral awareness campaigns, and facilitate council elections in 30 municipalities since 2019.
  • Supported the development and implementation of the Ministry of Education (MoE)’s civic democratic education curriculum for youth in grades 4-9 (implementation) and 10-12 (development).  Additionally, helped the MoE develop a civic education curriculum for university students. The curriculum, a first in Libya, will equip students with knowledge about their rights and duties as well-informed and active citizens.
  • Assisted in combating hate speech and disinformation through two social media platforms that are a trusted source of verified information, especially related to politics, for more than 130,000 followers.