1st political party formed in Benghazi

2011-07-27 10:16

Benghazi - Libyan expats on Tuesday became the first to take a stab at forming a political party in Benghazi, headquarters of the widely recognised National Transitional Council and stronghold of rebels fighting to oust Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

"We call ourselves the New Libya Party because everything was destroyed," said Ramadan Ben Amer, 53, a co-founder of the party, which is the offshoot of an online news website that he helped launch in late February to support the revolution.

"Gaddafi says he has built Libya brick by brick but, especially Benghazi, he has destroyed it brick by brick," Ben Amer told AFP hours before presenting his party at the Uzu Hotel.

He said that of the 2 000 individuals who have joined the party in Libya so far, the majority hail from his native Benghazi or Derna, the hometown of co-founder Rajad Mabruk, 65, who lives in Dallas, Texas.

New Libya, he added, also has some 20 000 supporters among Libyan expats living in the United States, Canada and Germany.

A California-educated petrochemical engineer, Amer said the party envisions a federal democracy with a clear constitutional divide among the executive, legislative and judiciary branches modelled on the United States.

Cancellation of all taxes

Now a resident of the United Arab Emirates, he says this offers the best model for Libya's development of tourism and for oil wealth management - although he says he has high hopes for solar energy in the north African nation that enjoys almost 365 days of sun per year.

"The reform and development of the oil and alternative energy sector," is the first item on the party's agenda followed by health care and social security.

New Libya Party aspires to the cancellation of all taxes, starting with personal income taxes.

Its platform, as outlined in a glossy brochure, promotes equal rights, the participation of women and youth in society, as well as the protection of minorities, while limiting the role of tribes as these are "a social entity" that "should not be treated as a political body".

Libya, Amer added, should aspire to be a Muslim but secular state, where an individual's relationship to God is treated as a private rather than a public matter.

He said his group is the first to declare itself a party (hezb in Arabic), and ventures that perhaps others may be more cautious in using the term to avoid being linked to Lebanon's Hezbollah which some Western countries, including the United States, considers a terrorist organisation.

"There are charity organisations, associations and clubs that have the seeds of political parties but none has declared itself a party using the word party yet," he said.

A media spokesperson of the National Transitional Council said "he had never heard" of Amer's party and added that he expected similar declarations to emerge soon. He warned that not all such declarations will "have meaning".


"This is the first political party to be declared," said Abeir Imneina, a political scientist in Benghazi, who is still considering which of the many groups contemplating forming a party she might join after an eventual fall from power of Gaddafi.

A number of working committees that have arisen around the National Transitional Council are likely to declare themselves as political parties in the near future, she added, with many holding meetings to set goals and recruit members.

"Declarations are a first step that helps you get known but not the last as there is still no law governing political parties so no party can be official yet," she said.

There are no elections due in Benghazi, currently administered by the opposition NTC, which is acting as a defacto government and recognised by dozens of countries as the legitimate representative of Libyans.

A Tuesday demonstration calling for the council to remain in power until Gaddafi is ousted and a new constitution adopted drew some 200 flag-waving supporters stopping traffic at a major intersection.

Read more on:    ntc  |  muammar gaddafi  |  libya  |  north africa  |  uprisings  |  libya protests

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24


Anglican Church urges people to vote

The Anglican Archbishop Thabo Makgoba has called on his congregation to use their right to vote, amid a campaign to spoil ballot papers.


Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
  • Thursday Sir Lowry's Pass - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
  • Thursday Cape Town - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Buitengracht Street
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Waterkant Street
More traffic reports...

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Nokia N9

The Nokia N9 has a beautiful one-piece, unibody design where...

From R2899.85

I'm shopping for:


You may be good at organising events but they do take their toll on your energy levels. You may need some time out today just to...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.