Only 10 pct of seats reserved for women in Libya congress
Ten percent 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 percent of the seats will be reserved for women," said the draft released on the website of the election preparatory committee.
The constituent assembly election is scheduled to be held in June in the conservative Muslim North African country which is still dominated by tribal traditions that are likely to prevent women winning openly contested votes.
The draft stipulates that candidates must be more than 25 years of age and should have held no position of responsibility under Moamer Gathafi's regime nor benefited financially from his rule.
The minimum age for voters has been kept at 18.
A bloody uprising ended Gathafi'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% 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 Gathafi.
"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.
Later on Monday, NTC chief Mustafa Abdel Jalil stressed that the proposed legislation was just a draft and could still undergo changes.
"The representation of women (in the constituent assembly) can be discussed," Abdel Jalil said at a press conference with visiting Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki.
"We want greater participation for women who participated alongside men in the Libyan revolution."
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.
The congress will have up to two months to name a prime minister, whose government will be put to a confidence vote and form a commission to draw up a constitution.
One month later, the constitution will be put to a referendum. If it is adopted, the congress has 30 days to draw up an electoral law and polls are to be held within six months.
The congress will have 30 days to approve the results of the election and another 30 days to convene an elected parliament, formally ending the transition period.