Libya’s Muslim Brotherhood has teamed up with other Islamists to establish a new political party that is set to be a leading player in the country’s first elections since the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in a NATO-backed uprising. Islamist and secular parties will vie in June elections for seats in a national assembly that will draft a new constitution for the North African country.
Political analysts say Libya’s Muslim Brotherhood is likely to emerge as the most organised political force and a leading player in the oil-exporting country where Islamists, like all dissidents, were harshly suppressed for 42 years.
Post-uprising elections have already brought Islamists into government in Tunisia, Egypt and Morocco since October and they are likely to perform well in Libya, a socially conservative country where alcohol was already banned before the revolution.
Lamine Belhadj, who heads the committee that is working to set up the new party, told Reuters at a conference on Friday it would bring together Islamists of different stripes. “This is the founding conference of a national, civil party with an Islamic frame of reference. It is being established by the Muslim Brotherhood and many independents who are not affiliated with any Islamic organisations,” he said.