Facts about key parties in Libya’s election

Jul 7, 2012, 9:36 PM

(AP) – Libyans went to the polls Saturday in the country’s first free national election since the toppling of longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi last year. Voters are electing a 200-member assembly whose first task will be naming a new government. Here are some details about the key parties vying for seats:


This is the main political arm of Libya’s Muslim Brotherhood, though party leaders have tried to distance themselves from the Brotherhood name by saying the party is only co-founded by some of the group’s Islamists. High-level members of the party include non-Brotherhood people.

The party is led by Mohammed Sawan, who spent eight years in prison under Gadhafi because of his affiliation with the Brotherhood. He is also a former member of the Brotherhood’s top decision-making council in Libya.

The party’s leaders have also said that it is independent from other Brotherhood groups in the region, including in Egypt, where a Brotherhood candidate was recently sworn in as president.

In its political platform, the party calls for “abiding by the principles of Islam” and believes that Islamic Sharia law should be the main source of legislation.


The group is a liberal coalition of 40 political parties, 236 NGOs and 280 independent figures.

The coalition is led by Mahmoud Jibril, who was a senior official and economist under Gadhafi’s regime until he joined sides with the uprising, serving as the rebels’ interim prime minister for almost eight months. He enjoys the support of one of the country’s largest tribes, the Warfala. Jibril himself cannot run on the ballot because election laws prevent members of the interim National Transitional Council from running.

In its political platform, the alliance states that Islamic Sharia law should be the main source of legislation, but adds that the state must respect all religions and sects, including religious rituals of foreigners living in Libya.


The party was founded by ex-Jihadist and former rebel commander Abdel-Hakim Belhaj and ultraconservative Muslim leader Ali al-Salab, a leading figure among Libya’s ultraconservative Salafis.

Al-Salab is believed to be affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood and helped mediate the release of Belhaj from prison a year before the revolution. Belhaj had been imprisoned under Gadhafi for being a leader of the militant Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, which led an insurgency against Gadhafi’s regime in the mid-1990s.

Opponents say the party is partly funded by the Arab Gulf country of Qatar. Party members deny the accusation and say all their funding is from Libyans.

The party’s platform is very similar to that of the Justice and Construction party.


A liberal party led by Ali Tarhouni, a former professor in the United States and later oil and finance minister under the transitional government who enjoys a good reputation for having had no ties to the Gadhafi regime.

The party is one of the few whose platform makes no reference to Islamic Sharia law and only identifies Libya as a moderate Muslim country.


The party is an offshoot of the National Front for the Salvation of Libya, which included a mix of Islamists and secularists who were part of the armed opposition that for decades carried out assassination attempts against Gadhafi, including the famous 1984 attack on Bab al-Aziziyah, the late dictator’s fortified compound in Tripoli.

The regime cracked down on the group, executing and arresting many of its members. Many sought exile and worked in political activism against Gadhafi from abroad. The movement organized the first Libyan opposition conference abroad in London and called for toppling Gadhafi’s regime several years ago.

The party is headed by Mohammed al-Magarif, a well-respected Libyan nationalist and former opposition leader.

The party sees Islam as a broad guideline to the state’s affairs, but does not mention the implementation of Islamic Sharia law.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

World News

(Photo by John Phillips/Getty Images for BoF VOICES)...
Associated Press

Vivienne Westwood, influential fashion maverick, dies at 81

Vivienne Westwood, an influential fashion maverick who played a key role in the punk movement, died Thursday at 81.
1 month ago
FILE - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during his first Cabinet meeting flanked by his ...
Associated Press

Rishi Sunak: UK’s ex-Treasury chief gets his shot at PM job

LONDON (AP) — Rishi Sunak ran for Britain’s top job and lost. Then he got another shot — and the chance to say “I told you so.” The former U.K. Treasury chief was runner-up to Liz Truss in the contest to replace the scandal-plagued Boris Johnson as Conservative Party leader and prime minister. But Truss […]
3 months ago
Britain's Prime Minister Liz Truss addresses the media in Downing Street in London, Thursday, Oct. ...
Associated Press

Truss quits, but UK’s political and economic turmoil persist

LONDON (AP) — British Prime Minister Liz Truss quit Thursday after a tumultuous and historically brief term marred by economic policies that roiled financial markets and a rebellion in her political party that obliterated her authority. After just 45 days in office, Truss became the third Conservative prime minister to be toppled in as many […]
4 months ago
People receive medical treatment at the scene of Russian shelling, in Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, Oct. 1...
Associated Press

Russia unleashes biggest attacks in Ukraine in months

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russia retaliated Monday for an attack on a critical bridge by unleashing its most widespread strikes against Ukraine in months, a lethal barrage that smashed civilian targets, knocked out power and water, shattered buildings and killed at least 14 people. Ukraine’s Emergency Service said nearly 100 people were wounded in the […]
4 months ago
This illustration made available by Johns Hopkins APL and NASA depicts NASA's DART probe, upper rig...
Associated Press

NASA spacecraft smashes into asteroid for defense test

A NASA spacecraft rammed an asteroid at blistering speed Monday in an unprecedented dress rehearsal for the day a killer rock menaces Earth.
4 months ago
Associated Press

At least 9 killed as Iran protests over woman’s death spread

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Clashes between Iranian security forces and protesters angry over the death of a 22-year-old woman in police custody have killed at least nine people since the violence erupted over the weekend, according to a tally Thursday by The Associated Press. The scope of Iran’s ongoing unrest, the worst in […]
4 months ago

Sponsored Articles

(Pexels Photo)...

Sports gambling can be fun for adults, but it’s a dangerous game for children

While adults may find that sports gambling is a way to enhance the experience with more than just fandom on the line, it can be a dangerous proposition if children get involved in the activity.
Fiesta Bowl Foundation

Celebrate 50 years of Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade magic!

Since its first production in the early 1970s, the Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe has been a staple of Valley traditions, bringing family fun and excitement to downtown Phoenix.
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet edges out cable for everyday use

In a world where technology drives so much of our daily lives, a lack of high-speed internet can be a major issue.
Facts about key parties in Libya’s election