Libya parliament drops law barring Gaddafi officials

Law banning Gaddafi-era officials from holding office suspended by Libya’s internationally recognised parliament.

Libya''s internationally recognized Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni attends a meeting with ministers as well as leaders of the Libyan army in Benghazi
The House of Representatives, led by PM al-Thinni, is Libya's internationally recognised government [Reuters]

Libya’s internationally recognised parliament has voted to suspend a controversial law that barred officials from the era of toppled leader Muammar Gaddafi from holding political posts.

“The House of Representatives voted in favour of suspending the law of political exclusion until the adoption of a permanent constitution,” MP Tarek al-Jerushi said on Monday.

He added that the law could now be considered “annulled”, the AFP news agency reported.

In May 2013, the General National Congress (GNC) passed the law banning officials who had served under Gaddafi between September 1, 1969 and the fall of his government in October 2011 from holding any political position.

The law also banned them from leadership roles in the country’s state firms, like the National Oil Corporation, its universities and judicial bodies.

Its opponents have argued that it was adopted under pressure from armed groups which besieged government buildings in Tripoli for days until it was approved by the then transitional assembly.

The passing of the law led to the resignation of then GNC President Mohamed al-Megaryef, who had served as Libya’s ambassador to India in the 1980s before defecting. 

UN mission

It is unclear how the authorities will be able to apply the law since the legitimacy of the parliament is disputed by a rival coalition that seized Tripoli last year.

The House of Representatives was elected in June 2014 to replace the outgoing GNC. However the GNC refused to concede power, electing their own prime minister and stating that they replaced the House of Representatives.

The Libya Dawn group reinstated the GNC and formed a rival government when it took control of the capital, and the elected parliament and government fled to eastern Libya.

On Monday, UN Special Envoy Bernadino Leon said peace talks between the two governments will start again within days. 

“It has been agreed to hold the next round of the peace talks in Libya within days,” he said after meeting GNC officials in Tripoli, the Reuters news agency reported.

The first UN-sponsored round of talks in the southern city of Ghadames were in September and made no progress.

Source: News Agencies