Benghazi: Libyan expats have became
the first to take a stab at forming a political party in
Benghazi, headquarters of the widely recognised National
Transitional Council and stronghold of rebels fighting to oust
Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.
"We call ourselves the New Libya Party because
everything was destroyed," said Ramadan Ben Amer, 53, a
co-founder of the party, which is the offshoot of an online
news website that he helped launch in late February to support
"Gaddafi says he has built Libya brick by brick but,
especially Benghazi, he has destroyed it brick by brick," Ben
Amer said hours before presenting his party at the Uzu
He said that of the 2,000 individuals who have joined
the party in Libya so far, the majority hail from his native
Benghazi or Derna, the hometown of co-founder Rajad Mabruk,
65, who lives in Dallas, Texas.
New Libya, he added, also has some 20,000 supporters
among Libyan expats living in the United States, Canada and
A California-educated petrochemical engineer, Amer said
the party envisions a federal democracy with a clear
constitutional divide among the executive, legislative and
judiciary branches modelled on the United States.
Now a resident of the United Arab Emirates, he says this
offers the best model for Libya`s development of tourism and
for oil wealth management although he says he has high hopes
for solar energy in the north African nation that enjoys
almost 365 days of sun per year.
"The reform and development of the oil and alternative
energy sector," is the first item on the party`s agenda
followed by health care and social security.
New Libya Party aspires to the cancellation of all
taxes, starting with personal income taxes.
Its platform, as outlined in a glossy brochure, promotes
equal rights, the participation of women and youth in society,
as well as the protection of minorities, while limiting the
role of tribes as these are "a social entity" that "should
not be treated as a political body."
Libya, Amer added, should aspire to be a Muslim but
secular state, where an individual`s relationship to God is
treated as a private rather than a public matter.
He said his group is the first to declare itself a party
(hezb in Arabic), and ventures that perhaps others may be more
cautious in using the term to avoid being linked to Lebanon`s
Hezbollah which some Western countries, including the United
States, considers a terrorist organisation.