Libya's new interim government, on Wednesday scrapped a 1972 law by the former dictatorial regime of Muammar Gaddafi that made the formation of a political party in the country a criminal act, and legalised political parties..
The National Transitional Council, NTC, "repealed the law that considered forming political parties as criminal and which was imposed by the despotic regime of Gaddafi to enforce his views by force in Libya," WAL reported. The law had been in effect since 1972.
Since the declaration that Libya has achieved its freedom, after the ousting of Gaddafi from power, several political parties have been formed in Libya. Some of them had even been set up during the conflict itself, particularly in the eastern city of Benghazi, the cradle of the uprising against the former leader that began in February 2011.
But not everybody will be allowed to stand for elections. The proposed electoral law lays out more than 20 classes of people who will be prohibited to stand as candidates in the vote, which is likely to be held in June.
Among those prohibited from running for office are officials who worked in Gaddafi-era security apparatus or the political committees known as the Revolutionary Committees, which made up a key part of his inner circle; those convicted of criminal offenses and Libyans who held the rank of ambassador or consul general during the dictator’s reign.
In the era of the Gaddafi regime, the former leader advocated what he called a rule of "direct democracy" through peoples' committees but he was effectively the supreme power in the country, and the committees were powerless to do anything without his knowledge..
Gaddafi used to say that held no official position as head of the state and called himself the "guide of the revolution," providing direction to Libyans. But in truth, his, was an autocratic rule. His regime was both authoritarian and arbitrary. In addition to banning political parties, he was intolerant of an independent civil society.
Now there's a new environment in Libyan. People who never dared show dissent or protest against the then leader's decisions now breathe a new air of freedom. They have a chance to express themselves, protest at what they feel are wrong decisions, and will soon be able to decide their own government and not one imposed upon them.
A 200-strong body formed after the national election will be in charge of writing a new constitution, overseeing a national referendum on the constitution and overseeing governmental affairs until a third vote will be held to elect a permanent government as outlined in the new constitution.
Mustafa Abdul-Jalil, the head of the NTC says that “Everything is open for discussion.”