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Libya: Law Criminalizing the Creation of Political Parties Repealed

(Jan. 12, 2012) On January 4, 2012, the National Transitional Council of Libya repealed Law 17-1972, which had prohibited the establishment of political parties. The Law was issued under the Gaddafi regime with the purpose of limiting the role of political movements in Libya and enhancing the regime's concept of direct democracy, called “the state of the masses.” Under the 1972 law, the Gaddafi regime replaced political parties with what was called “the Arab Socialist Union.” Individuals found guilty of violating the Law could be given the death sentence.

The Council also announced that Libyans will choose members of the Constituent Assembly via the first democratic election in the country, which will take place in June 2012. (Libya Allows the Establishment of Political Parties [in Arabic], AL ARAB (Jan. 5, 2012).)