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Libya parliament votes in ban

May 5, 2013

Libya's parliament has passed a law banning officials who served under ousted dictator Moammar Gadhafi from government posts. The law could affect many of the country's new leaders.

Libyan prime minister Ali Zeidan. Photo: REUTERS/Mohammed Dabbous
Image: Reuters

The General National Congress (GNC), Libya's elected parliament, voted overwhelmingly in favor of the law. Out of 200 lawmakers present, 164 voted in favor and four against.

Given its broad scope and vague wording the Political Isolation Law could even affect Prime Minister Ali Zeidan, (pictured above), a diplomat under Gadhafi who defected to the exiled opposition in 1980. Many of these officials played key roles in the uprising that overthrew the former ruler who controlled Libya for 42 years. They will be banned from government positions for 10 years.

The law was passed only days after militias surrounded government offices in Tripoli in an attempt to force parliament to adopt the legislation. "We hope the siege of the ministries will stop now, but it is not in our hands," GNC spokesman Omar Hmaiden told a news conference after the vote.

Deputy head of parliament Juma Attiga, who oversaw the vote, told the TV station Libya Ahrar that militias had pressured parliament to vote in favor of the law, but that he had planned to vote yes in any case.

Notably absent from the voting was the head of Congress, Mohammed al-Megarif, who may be ousted under the new law for having served as an ambassador under Gadhafi.

Security officials such as the military's chief of staff, Major General Youssef Mangoush, once a special forces commander under Gadhafi, may also come under the law. He quit his post 10 years before the uprising began and sided with rebels during the war.

Politician Mahmoud Jibril, whose liberal bloc did well in Libya's first free elections last year, may also be affected. He was once an aide to one of Gadhafi's sons.

Parliamentary spokesman Omar Humeidan said that a committee will be set up to review how the new law affects current senior officials. It will be comprised of judges and rights activists already serving on an "integrity commission" that vetted Cabinet ministers for ties with Gadhafi. That body will be dissolved and the new commission will take on more members, he said.

jm/mkg (Reuters, AP)