Saturday, April 28, 2012

A Surprise in Libya

Reuters had a surprising story about a development in Libya's new government and I am not sure how it is going to play out -there could be storms ahead. 

It seems that Libya is preparing for elections in June and has banned political parties based on religion, tribe or ethnicity. "Parties are not allowed to be based on religion or ethnicity or tribe," a government spokesman told Reuters. 

He did not make clear how this would affect a political party formed in March by Libya's Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists. The new party is viewed as a leading contender in the June polls, the first since last year's overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in a US/NATO-backed uprising.

I would expect that this will not sit well with the Brotherhood and would not be surprised to see trouble in it for the National Transitional Council (Libya's interim government). Islamist parties had been expected to vie with secular ones for seats in a national assembly that will draft a new constitution for the North African country. 

The Muslim Brotherhood was expected to emerge as the most organized political force and an influential player in the oil-exporting country where Islamists, as well as all dissidents, were harshly suppressed for 42 years under Gaddafi. Islamists have performed strongly in post-uprising elections in Tunisia, Egypt and Morocco since October and they are also likely to do well in Libya, a socially conservative country where alcohol was already banned before the revolution (one reason why it is not on my list of possible vacation sites...). 

Live Long and Prosper.... 

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