First Published: 2009-02-05

Libya set to unveil draft constitution

Government committee in charge of outlining constitution finishes legal aspect of draf national accord.


Middle East Online

Seif al-Islam: 'We want to have a constitution, laws and institutions'

TRIPOLI - Libya is set to unveil a draft constitution this month, a local television station reported on Thursday.

"The government committee in charge of outlining the national accord or constitution has finished the legal aspect of the draft," said Al-Libiya, which has ties to Moamer Gathafi's reformist son and heir-apparent Seif al-Islam.

"It will be announced at the end of February, when it will be presented to the People's Congress," which acts as parliament in Libya, it added.

Libya said in December that a government panel would start drawing up the country's first constitution since the 1969 coup that brought Gathafi to power.

"We want to have a constitution, laws and institutions and not everything revolving around one person or one group," Seif al-Islam said in Tuesday's edition of the pan Arab daily Asharq Al-Awsat.

The country has been moving to shake off its staunch socialist economy and embrace reforms and globalisation since mending ties with the West after it abandoned its quest for weapons of mass destruction in 2003.

"Work on this project is not starting from zero. There are some references already," judge Abdel Rahman Bututa said in December, citing the Green Book -- Gathafi's collected thoughts -- and a 1988 declaration on people's committees.

In 2007, Seif al-Islam outlined plans to reintroduce a formal constitution, drawn up in collaboration with European and US experts.

But he also said there were certain "red lines" that could not be crossed, including Gathafi's role as leader of the country and Libya's adherence to Islam.

Libya sits on reserves of 43 billion barrels of oil and is Africa's third largest oil producer.


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