Libya bans religious, tribal or ethnic parties

TRIPOLI Wed Apr 25, 2012 6:50pm IST

1 of 2. People make their way to the courthouse as they call for the National Transitional Council (NTC) to activate the judiciary, in Benghazi April 6, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Esam Al-Fetori

Related Topics

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 signalled 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 organised 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)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Markets

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Modi's 100 Days

Modi's 100 Days

100 days of Modi: Good for business, not so good for marginalised groups  Full Article 

India Win

India Win

India crush feeble England to clinch one-day series.  Full Article 

Power Outage

Power Outage

Mumbai hit by power cuts  Full Article 

Segway in India

Segway in India

Segway’s India business pegs hope on tech-savvy Modi   Full Article 

Pakistan Protests

Pakistan Protests

Pakistan parliament backs embattled prime minister as crisis deepens  Full Article 

Afghan Turmoil

Afghan Turmoil

Afghan turmoil threatens NATO's "mission accomplished" plans  Full Article 

In Trouble

In Trouble

Justin Bieber charged with assault, dangerous driving in Canada.  Full Article 

Mass Hacking

Mass Hacking

Actress Jennifer Lawrence contacts authorities after nude photos hacked.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage