Libya bans religious and tribal parties from June elections

26 April 2012

Libyans to vote on 200-member National Assembly on 19 June

Libya’s ruling National Transitional Council (NTC) has banned political parties based on religious principles from participating in June’s elections for the National Assembly.

NTC spokesman Mohammed al-Hareizi says the new law governing the formation of parties was agreed on 25 April and was designed to preserve national unity, AFP news agency reports.

“Parties shouldn’t be based on ethnic or religious ideologies. We don’t want the government to be divided by these ideological differences,” says Al-Hareizi.

The parties are also not permitted to be extensions of foreign political parties, such as Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood or to receive foreign funding. The Muslim Brotherhood launched its own Justice and Construction party in March, headed by Mohamed Sawan, who had been imprisoned by Muammar Gaddafi’s regime. Libya already has 30 political parties, formed since the end of Gaddafi’s rule last year, who banned all political parties.

Libyans are due to elect 200-member National Assembly on 19 June, which will then form a government and write a new constitution. Independent candidates have 120 of the assembly’s seats reserved. Political associations are to contest the remainder.

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