Libya bans religious, tribal or ethnic parties – Reuters

April 25th, 2012 Print Print Email Email

TRIPOLI (Reuters) – Libya, preparing for elections in June, has banned parties based on religion, tribe or ethnicity, the government said on Wednesday, and a new Islamist party viewed as a leading contender signaled it would challenge the decision.

National Transitional Council spokesman Mohammed al-Harizy said the council passed the law governing the formation of political parties on Tuesday evening. “Parties are not allowed to be based on religion or ethnicity or tribe,” he told Reuters.

He did not make clear how this would affect a political party formed in March by Libya’s Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists. The new party was expected to make a strong showing in the election, the first since last year’s overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in a NATO-backed popular uprising.

The head of the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Development Party said the NTC needed to make it clearer what it meant by banning religious parties. He said this would cause controversy in conservative Libya, whose population of six million is made up almost entirely of Sunni Muslims.

“This kind of clause is only useful in countries where there exists many religions, not in Libya where most people are religious Muslims,” Sawan told Reuters.

“This law needs to be reviewed by the NTC and if it’s not changed, we would have to protest it.”

Libya’s NTC has already indicated that the country will be run in accordance with sharia, though the exact place of Islamic law in the legal system will be settled only once a new constitution is written after elections.

Political analysts have said the Muslim Brotherhood is likely to emerge as Libya’s most organized political force and an influential player in the oil-exporting state where Islamists, like all dissidents, were harshly suppressed during the 42 years of Qaddafi’s dictatorial rule.

Islamists have performed strongly in post-uprising elections in Tunisia, Egypt and Morocco since October and they are also likely to do well in Libya, a socially conservative country where alcohol was already banned before the 2011 revolution.

(Reporting By Hadeel Al-Shalchi and Ali Shuaib; Writing by Hadeel Al-Shalchi; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

  1. koster
    | #1

    After the demise of fascist Meles, in Ethiopia should also be banned religious and ethnic parties. Elites are envriching in the name of the people they are claiming to represent. Indiduals should be elected on their merit not by their belonging to a certain gold or silver ethnic group.

  2. askeyame
    | #2

    In a free and democratic country, I beleive people should be able to assemble in any way they want. I should be free to create an ethnic or multi-ethnic party. It is up to the electorate to elect and it is up to the politicains to organize themseves. Freedom should not be limited by law!

  3. love
    | #3

    There is a reason why religion and ethnic parties should be banned. Libya is going to the right direction although I am not sure about their Sharia Law. The reason not having these ethnic parties and religious parties is that, even though they might represent their ethnic groups elites eventually turns their ethnic peoples extremists against other ethnic groups. The same with relgion. the other isssue is that these ethnic and religious groups become vehicle and brainwashed by outside groups and eventually will strive ONLY for their groups rather than for the entire nation. As in the example with TPLF today.

  4. Waqqoo
    | #4

    Ethiopia should follow suit. Religion and ethnicity will only brood animosity, ignite rivalry, encourage division and create fertile ground for totalitarianism to thrive. Political competition should be based on common ground to be free and fair as much one has to compete for employment based on merit. Political assignment is a form of employment that the employer is collectively – the masses. It is difficult to fire your nephew when he is not upto the job than an employee who was hired based on merit. Religious or ethnic appointment is also has similar downsides, so long as they are entitled instead of demanded.
    I am for the complete abrogation and replacement of current TPLF constitution with new meritorious, non-partisan just rule of law fit for the 22nd century.

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