Libya's democratization at risk: non-Arab minorities and women must have more say about the constituent assembly!

Germany's fourth-largest oil supplier faces new strikes

After Berbers protested in front of the Libyan National Congress in Tripoli, the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) fears that the country's democratization process is in danger. "The non-Arab minorities must be given a voice, because the policy of Arabization and Islamization led by former dictator Muammar al Gaddafi can only be credibly overcome if the Berbers, Tuareg and Toubou are able to participate in the politics," said Ulrich Delius, the STP's expert on questions regarding Africa, in Göttingen on Wednesday. "The German Federal Government should also be concerned about this, as Libya is Germany's fourth-largest supplier of oil."

On Tuesday, hundreds of protesters – who were furious about the small number of constituent assembly mandates for the minority groups – had stormed and vandalized the parliament building in Tripoli. They are threatening to boycott the constituent assembly elections and to organize strikes in the oil industry.

On July 16, 2013, the Libyan National Congress had passed a law that leaves only two seats in the constituent assembly for the Berbers (Masir), Tuareg and black African Toubou each. In addition to these six mandates for the minority groups, the women were granted only six seats, even though they represent 49 percent of the population. Several women's organizations, the Supreme Council of the Masir, the Supreme Council of the Tuareg and the Toubou National Council organized protests in front of the parliament building.

Germany imports even more oil from the North African state since the dictator was overthrown. While Libya provided oil supplies worth three billion Euros in 2010, the amount rose to five billion Euros in 2012. The Touareg and the Toubou had already blocked the oil production in Southern Libya for several days once before in 2012, trying to enforce better working conditions for members of the minority groups. For Libya, the strike caused an income loss of 50 million US dollars every day.