Libyan Officials Withdraw "Political Isolation" Law

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Libya’s UN-recognized parliament in the small eastern city of Tobruk has revoked the “political isolation” law that they had passed back in 2013. The law, which banned officials during the Muammar Gaddafi regime from ever holding office again, had been criticized by everyone from MPs to NGOs, who called it undemocratic and an obstacle in Libya’s democratic transition. However, though the parliament in Tobruk revoking the law could show a sign of good faith in potential re-unification, its influence is actually quite miniscule. For starters, Tobruk is a city of only 120,000 people, and as far as Libya’s other political entities and actors are considered, its laws and policies are of no concern or influence to them. Tripoli’s new General National Congress (GNC), for instance, is currently dominated by the Justice and Construction party, which many call as Libya’s branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. The UN had previously attempted to mediate talks between the GNC and the Tobruk parliament, but those were ultimately suspended in late February. The massive internal divisions, along with a power vacuum, has also paved the way for the Islamic State (IS) and another local Salafist group Ansar Al Sharia to make their way into Libya. With IS releasing a video that shows the execution of 21 Coptic migrant workers apparently in Libya, and with Egypt’s response to the same with airstrikes, Libya’s situation today almost mirrors that of Syria and Iraq. perhaps passing that law has come a little too late.