The Libyan National Transitional Council (NTC) has dropped the ban against political parties based on religion, tribe or ethnicity, an official said, after the law angered Islamist parties in the run-up to the first free election in June.
Libyans vote in June to elect a national assembly for the first time since the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi. Eighty of the 200 seats will go to political parties, with the rest reserved for independent candidates. The currently governing National Transitional Council decided in April in order to ‘preserve national unity’ to ban political parties based on religion, tribe or ethnicity.
While most of society’s structures are organised along such lines the ban would make it further difficult to establish new political parties. Some claimed that the ban was to preserve already existing party structures and to keep out the newly formed party by the Muslim Brotherhood, Libya’s most organised political force, and other Islamists.
Islamists have performed well in post-uprising elections in Tunisia, Egypt and Morocco and they are also likely to do well in Libya, a socially conservative country. Libya's NTC has already indicated the country will be run in accordance with Islamic law, though its exact place in the legal system will be settled only when a new constitution is written after the elections.