The UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) [official website] on Thursday welcomed the new electoral law [press release, PDF] adopted by the National Transitional Council (NTC) [official website, in Arabic; JURIST news archive]. The draft of the electoral law was finalized on Wednesday after the earlier version [text, PDF; JURIST report] was revised to address criticisms of the public. The new law sets out procedures for the upcoming election to choose a national assembly. After elected, its responsibility will be to draft a new constitution for the country. The finalized law provides that 20 percent of the 200 seats (40 seats) will be reserved for women, double of what was proposed in the earlier version. The UNSMIL stressed the importance of the new democratic development in Libya:
The first free election for over four decades will provide an opportunity for Libyans to exercise their democratic rights to participate in a process which will shape the future of their country. UNSMIL remains committed, as mandated by the UN Security Council, to assist and support Libyan national efforts to undertake political dialogue, promote national reconciliation and embark upon the electoral process.Local council members stated that they still have to address the issue of education, health care, and reconstruction.
This finalization and adoption of the new electoral law is a significant step for Libya in establishing a democratic system after the end of the Muammar Gaddafi [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] regime and the Libyan conflict [JURIST backgrounder]. Last week, the trial against Gaddafi allies was postponed [JURIST report]. The defense's pleading stated that the trial must be transferred to the civil court because the military court lacked the authority to rule on the issue. The trial will resume on February 15. Last month, Libya was criticized for the allegations of torture and human rights violations [JURIST report]. Although the NTC expressed its commitment to human rights and legal reformation, UN Security Council [official website] was still concerned due to the lack of NTC's control over the revolutionary brigades.