News24

Libya legalises political parties

2012-01-04 22:01

Tripoli - Libya's new rulers on Wednesday scrapped a law from the regime of Muammar Gaddafi which made formation of a political party a criminal act, the official news agency WAL reported.

The National Transitional Council "repealed the law that considered forming political parties as criminal and which was imposed by the despotic regime of Gaddafi to enforce his views by force in Libya,"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 said.

The law had been in effect since 1972.

Since the ousting of Gaddafi, several political parties have been formed in Libya, and some were set up even during the conflict itself in the eastern city of Benghazi, the cradle of the uprising against the former leader.

During his four-decade regime, Gaddafi advocated what he said was a rule of "direct democracy" through peoples' committees but he was effectively the supreme power in the country.

He held no official position as head of the state and called himself the "guide," providing direction to Libyans.

In fact, his regime was both authoritarian and arbitrary. In addition to banning political parties, he was intolerant of an independent civil society.