Libyan interim government bans political parties base on religion

The first general elections are to be held in Libya in two months. The 200 members elected will draft a new constitution and form a government.

The law banning religious parties was immediately denounced by Islamic oriented parties that intend to compete in the June elections. A government spokesperson said that the move was meant to preserve national unity. If the ruling makes the main Islamist parties ineligible to run this will hardly preserve national unity.

No parties were allowed under the Gadaffi regime among the reasons being the one used by the transitional council to ban religious parties that parties divide the people and are against national unity. The government spokesperson said:."Parties shouldn't be based on ethnic or religious ideologies," "We don't want the government to be divided by these ideological differences." He was silent on what the new law meant for the Freedom and Development party founded by the Muslim Brotherhood.

The Brotherhood sponsored party is expected to do well in elections as Islam oriented parties have done in Egypt and Tunisia. A spokesperson for the Freedom and Development party said:"This is not democracy," "We don't understand this law ... It could mean nothing, or it could mean that none of us can participate in the election,'"We are a nationalist party and Islam is our religion. This law is unacceptable and only suits liberals."

Libya is made up mostly of Sunni Muslims. The new law seems out of step with the government announce that the government would be run in accordance with Sharia law although the exact role of the law would wait upon drafting of the constitution. There are enough problems and divisions in Libya already without the government itself introducing conflict as this law has. For more see this article.


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