Kadhafi's son outlines plans for Libya first constitution

Published August 21st, 2007 - 10:32 GMT

Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi's son Seif al-Islam has outlined plans for the country's first constitution since his father seized power 38 years ago. And while he expressed backing for the father's idea of "direct democracy" -- a system of "people's committees" with a monopoly on all political debate -- he said the new constitution would extend political discussion and guarantee more independence.


Certain "red lines" however could not be crossed, including the role of his father and the country's adherence to Islam and sharia (Islamic law).


"Our next challenge is to set up a series of laws, which we can call constitution or social contract or something else. The important thing is to have a contract that will organize the lives of Libyans," Kadhafi said in a speech in Benghazi, 1,000 kilometres (600 miles) east of Tripoli.


"First, there are red lines that we must reach agreement on," he said, quoting in order: "Islam and application of sharia law, ... security and stability in Libya, unity of the national territory, and Moamer Kadhafi."


The laws should guarantee the independence of the Libyan central bank, the high court, the media and civil society, Kadhafi, told a crowd of more than 40,000 assembled late on Monday in Libya's second city.


According to AFP, he called for a "national dialogue embracing all the Libyan people to reach the ideal formula as soon as possible" to draw up a constitution, while expressing backing for the "direct democracy" preached by his father. That system criminalizes political dissent and bans the creation of political parties and a freely-elected parliament.


Seif al-Islam also called for strengthening the power of the prime minister so that he could choose his ministers.

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