Gadaffi government beneficiaries excluded from office
January 16, 2011A recent draft election law in Libya is causing outrage among varying sectors of Libyan society. The content of the legislation, posted online by the NATO-installed National Transition Council, focuses on the rules for the national assembly elections to be held in August.
Under the draft law, anyone with ties to Muammar Gaddafi or the previous sovereign Libyan government will be banned from running in the elections, including those who“benefited monetarily” from the government. The provision also bars from participation academics who wrote and published about Gaddafi’s “Green Book.”
The vague legislation is based on the myth that only a small section of Libyans supported the Gadaffi government. It is worth recalling that in fact the largest demonstrations during the eight-month NATO assault on Libya were in support of the government, not the rebels. In other words, in the new “democratic” Libya, only politicians acceptable to the NATO rebels will be eligible to run for political office.
The legislation is also problematic because it eliminates any non-violent avenues for supporters of the former sovereign government and the Green Resistance to participate in reconciliation after the devastating war. Resistance organizations have been regrouping in the southern Sahel region, which provides easy access to several neighboring countries.
Journalist Franklin Lamb, who is currently in Libya, wrote recently, “There is clear and growing pro-Gadhafi political and military activity here and it is why NTC leader Mustafa Abdul Jalil, the other day warned against the Gadhafi children raising an insurrection.” (Counterpunch, Jan. 13-15)
The Libyan Liberation Front had previously been planning on running in the August elections.
The draft legislation also appears to continue the NTC’s attack on women’s rights in Libya. The draft law may set a quota of 10 percent on women’s representation in the national assembly. This would mean women would be limited to 20 seats out of 200, and has been strongly condemned by women’s and human rights organizations in Libya. It is possible that the language in the draft law needs to be clarified and that the intent is to reserve (but not limit) women to 10 percent of seats. However, it is telling that women in Libya have protested the language, interpreting it as a limitation.
Under the Gaddafi government, there were no restrictions on women’s participation in social, economic or political life.