10 % of Libyan assembly seats for women: Draft law

The draft stipulates that candidates must be above 25 and should have held no position of responsibility under Gaddafi.

Tripoli: Ten per cent of the seats in a
proposed Libyan constituent assembly will be reserved for
women, a draft electoral law published on Monday said, triggering
harsh reaction from a human rights watchdog.

"The General National Congress (constituent assembly) is
to be composed of 200 members elected freely and directly. 10
per cent of the seats will be reserved for women," said the
draft released on the website of the election preparatory

The constituent assembly election is scheduled to be held
in June.

The draft stipulates that candidates must be more than 25
years of age and should have held no position of
responsibility under Muammar Gaddafi`s regime, nor benefited
financially from his rule.

The minimum age for voters has been kept at 18.

A bloody uprising ended Gaddafi`s four-decade rule and
the ousted leader was later killed attempting to flee the fall
of his hometown Sirte on October 20.

The Libyan Human Rights Alliance strongly criticised the
proposed bill.

"As it is now, Libyan women currently make up over 50 per
cent of the population in Libya, and the idea that they will
be strictly limited to only 20 seats is extremely outrageous,"
said the alliance in a statement released in English.

The Libyan Human Rights Alliance, a network of
non-governmental organisations, said that Libyan women too had
worked hard during the revolution which toppled Gaddafi.

"We as an alliance... believe that it is the duty of
civil and political actors to work together and synchronise
efforts to ensure a fair representation of women in the
upcoming elected governing body," the group said.

"The gains that Libyan women have achieved over these
past months were not granted, nor were they good luck. They
were the result of hard work and struggle, and we demand that
the rights of women in the political sector be met."

It urged the ruling National Transitional Council to
ensure that the election for the assembly does not sideline
women but endorses them at a local as well as national level.

"If for any reason the NTC believes that there would be a
lack of representation from Libyan women with a larger quota,
then their response should be to mobilise women and to support
them, not to limit them," the group added.

A 20-month roadmap released by the NTC in August outlined
a timetable for Libya`s transition to democracy.

As a first step, the NTC appointed a transitional
government last month.

It is charged with organising by August elections to the
constituent assembly.

The NTC will then step down and the assembly take over as
the legitimate representative of the Libyan people.