The Muslim Brotherhood in Libya officially announced on Saturday the formation of the Justice and Construction Party. At the end of a three-day conference in Tripoli, Mohammed Sawan, was elected leader. The launch attracted some 1400 delegates from all over the country.
During the conference, several different variants of the party’s new name were debated before delegates opted for the JCP. Twenty members of the party’s governing council are in the process of being elected. Another 25 will be elected by the party’s 1,400 members.
The new party was initially planned last November and is already organised across the country. According to party spokesman Mohamed Gaair, it has branches in over 18 towns and cities.
Unlike the many other parties that have been launched in recent days, the JCP is viewed by many in Libya have having a specific Islamic agenda in aiming to make Sharia law “the” source of law as opposed to “a” source of law or the “inspiration” for the law. However, JCP officials reject the labeling.
“We aim for diversity and a state of law where differences in opinion are respected,” Sawan said.
“The party will reject any practice that violates human rights,” a JCP activist said, pointing out that many of its members had experienced human rights abuses themselves. Sarwan was jailed by the Qaddafi regime for eight years, as was Salabi.
Sawan later told reporters that the party sees Islam as a religion that regulates all aspects of life, including politics.
Almost all Libya’s new parties insist that because Libya is a Muslim country, Islam has a natural role to play in its political life.
Belhaj said that the JCP’s objective was be present throughout Libya and to include all its ethnic groups in the party.
His involvement in the party may cause problems. The NTC is opposed to parties being formed that have links to revolutionary brigades and servicemen in the national army from entering politics. Whether this makes any difference remains to be seen. Last week, Abdullah Naker, who had a spectacular falling out with Belhaj and who now head his own Tripoli Revolutionary Council, founded his Al-Qimma party (The Summit or Pinnacle party).