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Libya: Political Figures Criticize Draft Election Law

(Jan. 12, 2012) On January 5, 2012, many political figures criticized the draft law on the election of members to Libya's Constituent Assembly. The critics stated that the law discriminates against specific individuals by prohibiting them from running for election. They also said that the draft law reinforces the concept of tribalism and ignores the concepts of pluralism and nationalism. Members of the current National Transitional Council dismissed the allegations by announcing that the law targets only individuals who were loyal to the Gaddafi regime.

Abeer Amnaniya, a member of the committee preparing the draft law, criticized article 5 of the law because it would grant voters the right to register to vote in any electoral district of their choice. The implication is that voters would most likely register in locations inhabited by their tribes, whether or not they actually resided in such areas.

Some other political figures attacked the draft law for limiting the participation of women in the Constituent Assembly with a ten percent quota. Moreover, Ibrahim Sahd, the General Secretary of the National Front to Rescue Libya (NFRL), condemned the draft law for banning individuals who are dual citizens of Libya and another nation from running in the upcoming election. The NFRL was an opposition movement to Muammar al-Gaddafi's regime; it was established on October 7, 1981, at a press conference held in Khartoum, Sudan.

In response to the mounting criticism, Mustafa Abdel Jalil, Chief of the National Transitional Council, stressed that the proposed legislation is still in draft form and could still undergo changes. The Constituent Assembly election is scheduled to be held in June. (Criticizing the Draft Law of Elections [in Arabic], AL JAZEERA NET (Jan. 1, 2012).)