The Libyan Elections Law 2012 and the Muslim Brotherhood
Heated exchange of angry words between members of the NTC is reported to have taken place on Sunday, when the NTC members were discussing the 2012 elections law, where changes have been proposed to the previous draft. NTC members who are advocates of the Muslim Brotherhood expressed their anger and dismay at attempts by other members to push through changes to the voting and representation system proposed.
The first draft of the elections law proposed that 136 of the National Assembly seats are designated to party lists candidates and 64 seats to independent individual candidates. However, a group of Muslim Brotherhood sceptics in the NTC have pushed for a change to the way the National Assembly seats were distributed. The NTC has now approved the changes which led to 120 seats for independent individual candidates and 80 seats for party lists candidates.
The reason for these changes as the Muslim Brotherhood sceptics claim was to ensure better representation and prevent anyone party or movement of taking full control of the National Assembly that will determine the future of Libya and write the permanent constitution for the country. On the other hand, the Muslim Brotherhood claims that the recent changes to the elections law will encourage voting on tribal basis and cause fissures and divisions within the Libyan society. Also, the Muslim Brotherhood claims that the proposed changes kill the idea of proper multi-party based democracy.
On that note, there have been accusations to the Muslim Brotherhood leadership in the Middle East and North Africa of striking a deal with the US to be the key player in the scene under supervision from Qatar. According to commentators on the Libyan situation, Aljazeera Channel has started to mobilise support for the Muslim Brotherhood advocates in the NTC in particular and the Libyan public in general. There has also been accusation to the Qatari authorities of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood elections campaigns in Egypt and Tunisia. Also, Aljazeera satellite channel has been accused of making up demonstration pictures that were allegedly against the recent changes to the elections law in Libya, which would make it impossible for the Muslim Brother to gain any majority in the National Assembly elections.
The heated debate has now led to leading figures and advocates of the Muslim Brotherhood in Libya attacking the NTC and its chairman fiercely and demanding Mustafa Abduljalil’s resignation, as well as, accusing the NTC leadership of fiddling with the elections law. The Muslim Brotherhood have been accused of using Aljazeera Channel to mobilise anger at the NTC leadership by showing fake images of demonstrations, and according to some critics, such acts, could lead to violent incidents similar to the ones that have taken place recently and that were directed at the NTC members and leadership.
The National Transitional Council’s chairman is now facing a political dilemma, where he is trying to satisfy all parties. The Muslim Brotherhood would mobilise the public or sections of the society to practice more pressure on the NTC and its leadership. For the NTC to overcome this complex issue the division of seats should be 50/50, where the party lists candidates compete for 100 seats of the National Assembly and the independent individual candidates compete for the other 100 seats.
Finally, the issue of representation of different sections of the public and its accuracy across the Libyan society, especially for the women population in Libya after dropping the 10% quota has to be addressed. The NTC should introduce measures by which women are guaranteed a fair share and proper representation in the National Assembly. The NTC has already imposed a share for women candidates in party lists, and I think a similar measure is required to support capable independent women candidates. Mohamed Eljarh is a UK based Libyan academic researcher and political, social development activist. He is also co-founder and Public Affairs Director of the Libyan Academy for Creativity and Innovation. He is from the city of Tobruk in Eastern Libya. [Email: [email protected] ]