But where that leaves the largest Muslim party in Libya is uncertain.
Hey guys, remember Libya? And how there was a war there and NATO got involved and then Gadhafi died? Well, shocking as it may seem, life continues apace in the North African country, with constituent assembly elections set to be held before June 19. But those elections will be without one of the defining attributes of Middle Eastern and North African democracies (such as they are): religious political parties. The interim Transitional National Council has passed legislation that will deny official status to any “regional, tribal, or religious” party, as well as any parties that receive foreign funding or are extensions of any foreign parties. The election will decide who gets the assembly’s 200 seats, although 120 are reserved for individual candidates, while the rest are set aside for political organizations.
Of course, this raises the question as to where the more Islamist types in Libya will put their support – ostensibly, this clears the opportunity for religious candidates to emerge, so long as they’re not tied to any party. Or, this move will marginalize Islamists entirely, and who knows just how that will end up – after all, the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Development Party, a spin-off of the Muslim Brotherhood, already appears to be the most popular party in the country. It also puts Libya at odds with Tunisia, which overwhelmingly elected the moderate Islamist party Ennahda just a few short months ago, and Egypt, where the Brotherhood remains the most popular party. Regardless, it looks like Libya’s set to become the next secular democracy in that neck of the world – a sentence very few people would have ever considered typing two years ago.