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Libya bars ethnic, religious and tribal parties from elections

Published time: April 25, 2012 18:31
Edited time: April 25, 2012 22:31
Mohammed Sawan (AFP Photo / Manmud Turkia)

Mohammed Sawan (AFP Photo / Manmud Turkia)

Libya's NTC has banned parties based on tribal, ethnic or religious affiliation from participating in the upcoming parliamentary elections. A new Islamist party seen by many as a leading political force is eager to refute the ban.

­On Tuesday, Libya's National Transitional Council passed a law regulating the formation of political parties.

"Parties are not allowed to be based on religion or ethnicity or tribe," NTC spokesman Mohammed al-Harizy told Reuters after the meeting.

A new political party formed in March by Libya's Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists has urged the NTC to clarify the decision.

The head of the Islamist party claimed the law would cause controversy, because the country’s relatively conservative population is made up almost entirely of Sunni Muslims.

"This kind of clause is only useful in countries where there exist many religions, not in Libya where most people are religious Muslims," Mohammed Sawan said.

If the NTC does not change the law, the party will have to protest, he added.

Before the law was adopted, political analysts had predicted that the party formed by the Muslim Brotherhood would become Libya's most organized political force – and an influential player in the parliamentary elections this June.

The NTC has already stated that the country will be run in accordance with Sharia, or Islamic law, but its exact place in the legal system is yet to be determined as a new constitution will be put together after elections.

Islamist parties have shown strong performances in post-uprising elections in Tunisia, Egypt and Morocco.