Religion-based parties banned under new Libya law

TRIPOLI, Libya — A Libyan government spokesman says authorities have issued a law banning the formation of political parties based on religious principles.

Mohamed al-Hareizi, from the National Transitional Council, said the law passed Wednesday was designed to preserve "national unity."

But it is sure to infuriate religious parties such as the Muslim Brotherhood, Libya's most organized political group.

Islamists, like all political or religious groups in Libya, were long suppressed by former dictator Muammar Qadhafi. He was killed by Libyan rebels in October after eight months of fighting.

The law comes two months ahead of Libya's first general elections to choose a 200-member assembly tasked with writing a new constitution and forming a government.

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