New law regulates participation criteria for political parties in Libya’s upcoming parliamentary elections
On Tuesday, the Libyan National Transitional Council (NTC) passed a law stipulating the criteria to which political parties must adhere in order to run in Libya’s upcoming parliamentary elections. The decree has prohibited any party established on the basis of religious, tribal, or regional affiliations from participating in the elections.
Additionally, the newly adopted law requires that all recognized parties must have at least 250 members, and forbids any political entity participating in the electoral process from receiving funding from foreign sources.
Othman Ben Sassi, the president of the information office of the Interim Council and a representative of the NTC, expressed his rationale for the new law, and praised the precedent Tunisia set on this issue when preparing for its own Constituent Assembly elections last October.
“We fully agree with the law, and we are against any party that would use the mosque in the service of political interests. Tunisia is the best example to learn from,” he stated.
However, Fathi Baaja, another member of the NTC, clarified in an interview with Le Monde that the law is not intended to proscribe moderate Islamist parties from participating in the elections. He explained that only radical Islamist groups that “follow a policy of exclusion of others,” would be prohibited under the new law.
Under the Gaddafi regime, Libyans were banned from political participation, making the new law the first of its kind in Libya since 1964.
Currently, 60 political parties have been formed in anticipation of the upcoming elections, many of which are running on Islamist platforms.