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Libya simmers over law targeting ex-Qaddafi officials

Published: Updated:

A bill banning associates of former dictator Muammar Qaddafi from politics risks inflaming tensions in Libya and could see top officials including the premier and the assembly chief removed from their posts.

The bill, first proposed in December, will target those who worked in 36 job categories during Qaddafi's four decades in power.

The current draft could remove many of Libya’s new leaders from their current post, including the president of the General National Congress (GNC), Libya's highest political authority, and his deputy Jumaa Attiga along with Prime Minister Ali Zeidan.

Observers said the bill moved one step closer to ratification on Wednesday, when the assembly made a change to the interim constitutional declaration making it impossible to appeal the law before it passed.

In January, heated debates about the bill created a climate of tension in a country which is already unstable because of the weakness of the country's security organizations.

These tensions reached their peak in March, when Megaryef's car was raked by gunfire in Tripoli as he left a meeting hall besieged by demonstrators.

However, the GNC has said it is determined to see the bill through to the statute books.

“The law will be passed with a majority of 100 votes plus one out of 200 members of the assembly, while previously approval would have required a majority of 120 votes,” GNC spokesman Omar Hmeidan said.

Hmeidan added that the assembly had cleared another hurdle in the interim constitutional declaration which says that “Libyans are equal before the law and in the civil and political rights they enjoy.”

It did so by introducing a new article “authorizing the temporary exclusion of some Libyans from political life.”

“The immunization [protection against any potential legal challenges] of the political exclusion law is the first stage in successfully creating a law based on fair, impartial and objective criteria,” former political prisoner Sami al-Saadi said.