Libya premier seeks to ease women’s fears of losing rights

‘I strongly believe that women must play a role’

WASHINGTON - Women "will have a place" in Libya after the fall of Moamer Gathafi, interim Prime Minister Abdel Rahim al-Kib said Friday amid concerns of the role of Islamic sharia law in the constitution.
"I strongly believe that women must play a role, this is not an option," Kib said during an appearance at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace think-tank.
Noting that his own wife has more degrees than him, Kib pointed to "some very smart Libyan ladies" in the audience, including his minister of social affairs, Mabruka al-Sherif Jibril.
"They will have a place" in Libya, said Kib, during a visit to Washington.
The day he declared Libya liberated, new leader Mustapha Abdel Jalil sparked concerns by saying that sharia would be the main source of law and that any law that violates sharia would be null, mentioning marriage and divorce laws.
A first draft of the electoral law in Libya reserved 10 percent of seats in the constituent assembly for women, but that was later abandoned, much to the outrage of women's rights advocates.
The International Federation for Human Rights, meanwhile, has called on Libyan authorities to take measures to respect women's rights, namely by ensuring that they have political representation.
Under Gathafi's rule, polygamy was authorized, but under certain conditions such as the first wife's consent.
When asked about the practice, Kib first tried to make light of it.
"Now, polygamy: I don't know if this is the proper place to discuss this but... I'm fine with one... And I'm not going to add another one," he said to laughter from the audience.
Turning serious, he added that "in Libya, I guarantee you this is not going to be something of a problem and I don't think this is something people want to do."