The cases of Zeidan and Magariaf — former Gadhafi officials who abandoned the regime decades before it was toppled in the 2011 uprising — illustrates just one of the complexities of deciding who will and will not be allowed to take part in leading the efforts to build the new Libyan state.
The chairman of the GNC committee that drafted the bill told Al-Monitor that his committee grappled with these complexities. “It’s not fair to put those people who worked with Gadhafi for 40 years and never dismantled the evil regime in the same category as those who worked only one or two or even 10 years and then helped to dismantle the regime,” acknowledged chairman Mohammed Toumi.
“We tried it add some kind of exceptions … but it was difficult because everyone wanted these exceptions to include some people he trusts,” he explained, saying that it is now up to the 200 members of the GNC to consider adding, removing or altering any of the criteria in the tabled bill.
“'Political isolation’ is not a tool to punish people,” said Toumi, before laying out his rationale for the law. “(The people) that led the country for decades under an evil regime were by one way or another a tool in the hands of the ex-regime. We cannot build a democratic state using the tools that had been used to build a dictatorship. We cannot achieve a different result using the same tools.”
“The aim of (the law) is to isolate those who were at the decision-making level in the Gadhafi regime from making decisions in the new state, especially in this first period,” said Dr. Majda Alfallah, a GNC member from the Justice and Construction Party, the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood in Libya.
Alfalla told Al-Monitor that her party accepted the draft law and planned to vote in favor it.
Toumi noted how political exclusion acts had been used in other countries during periods of significant political transition or outright overhaul, such as in post-communist Eastern Europe, as a “protection” measure.