Last Updated: Sat Jan 28, 2012 23:55 pm (KSA) 20:55 pm (GMT)

Libya’s NTC adopts election law, drops women quota

Women take part in a demonstration demanding that the Libyan National Transitional Council apply Islamic sharia rule in the country. (REUTERS)
Women take part in a demonstration demanding that the Libyan National Transitional Council apply Islamic sharia rule in the country. (REUTERS)

The ruling National Transitional Council on Saturday adopted a new electoral law for Libya to form its first constituent assembly in June, dropping a quota set aside for women.

The law, announced on the NTC’s Facebook page, scraps a draft proposal that would have reserved 10 percent of seats on the 200-member General National Congress for women, in an amendment criticized by women’s and rights groups.

The law also stipulates that two-thirds of the congress be made up of candidates from political groups, with the rest going to independent members.

NTC member Mukhtar al-Jaddal confirmed the adoption of the electoral law.

“The NTC adopted the electoral law. The new law has abandoned the 10 percent quota reserved for women” that was proposed in the draft version of the law, Jaddal told AFP.

The NTC said on its Facebook page that the adopted law calls for 136 seats of the assembly to go to candidates of political parties and the remaining 64 seats to be held by independents.

However, it also said each political party must have equal numbers of men and women in its list of candidates for the 136 seats.

The NTC was to adopt the law last week but postponed it after violent protests at its offices in the eastern city of Benghazi, birthplace of the 2011 uprising which ousted Libya’s longtime strongman Muammar Qaddafi

The council, which spearheaded the bloody rebellion against Qaddafi and now rules the new Libya, is facing severe criticism over its functioning and choice of members.

Last week’s protests in Benghazi saw the NTC’s number two, Abdel Hafiz Ghoga, quit the council as residents opposed his membership over his belated defection from the former regime.

Protesters stormed the NTC offices in Benghazi and threw several home-made grenades last Saturday, demanding the entire council resign except a few members such as Mustafa Abdel Jalil, who heads the ruling body.

The final text of the new electoral law is expected to be formally published in coming days.

The formation of the General National Congress is part of the new Libya’s 20-month roadmap since the NTC declared the country’s “liberation” after Qaddafi’s killing on Oct. 20.

Under the roadmap, which the NTC published last August, the council is to hand over power to the elected assembly within eight months of the liberation and a constitution be drawn up.

The 37-article “constitutional declaration” covers 10 pages and details the main stages of a transition from the four-decade rule of Qaddafi.

The NTC, which was formed in Benghazi last February, will step down once the congress, taking over as the legitimate representative of the Libyan people, holds its first session.

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