Justice and Construction Party
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|Founded||3 March 2012|
|International affiliation||Muslim Brotherhood|
|Colours||Azure and gold|
|General National Congress|
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The Justice and Construction Party or Justice and Development Party (Arabic: حزب العدالة والبناء, Hizb Al-Adala Wal-Bina) is the political party in Libya associated with the Muslim Brotherhood. It was officially founded on 3 March 2012 in Tripoli. The party advocates Islamism.
Mohamed Sowan of Misrata heads the party, while Mohamed Gaair is its spokesman. While the party finished second in the elections, it is believed to have attracted enough independents to have become the majority, and infighting in the National Forces Alliance has allowed the Brotherhood's political arm to gradually consolidate control over Libya. The party backed the election of Nouri Abusahmain a Amazigh and moderate Islamist over the secular candidates who were defeated. This gave the Brotherhood a strong position so that once Ali Zeidan was sacked over mishandling of Morning Glory oil shipments, the Brotherhood had the speaker-President, Abusahmain, with the authority that they could then eventually appoint a moderate Islamist and pro-Business politician, Ahmed Maiteeq as the prime minister. The Brotherhood is continuing to build a bigger consensus and by backing an Amazigh as President, the JCP consolidated a stronger support base among Libya's ethnic minorities.
The Libyan branch of the Muslim Brotherhood was founded in 1949, however it had not been able to operate openly until after the Libyan Civil War. A public conference was held for the first time in Libya on 17 November 2011 and attended by Libyan Muslim Brotherhood leader Suleiman Abdelkader and Tunisia's Rashid Ghannouchi. On 24 December 2011, the Libyan Muslim Brotherhood announced an intention to form a political party to contest the Public National Conference election scheduled for June 2012.
The official founding of the party was declared on 3 March 2012, despite the lack of electoral laws governing the foundation of political parties to run in elections. The Libyan Muslim Brotherhood's spokesman, Mohamed Gaair, said the party was launched in Tripoli after a function attended by 1,400 representatives from over 18 cities. A former political prisoner Mohamed Sowan of Misrata was chosen as the inaugural head of the party. Significantly, Misrata was a hotbed of violence during the civil war and its people are also considered to have become distrustful of the central government's institutions based outside the city since the founding leaders from the oil-rich region have called for autonomy for the wider Cyrenaica region; a move that was opposed by others in Tripoli and Benghazi. Gaair added that many of the Muslim Brotherhood's leaders were either previously jailed or sent into exile. Amongst its supporter base are several other rebel leaders from the civil war and wealthy Libyan expatriates who returned after the war. The party is said to be the country's most organised political force, similar to the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, which won a plurality in the 2011–12 Egyptian parliamentary elections after its own revolution that ousted Hosni Mubarak from power.
Justice and Construction competed in the 2012 Libyan General National Congress election. It received 10% of the vote and won 17 of the 80 party-list seats, placing second behind the National Forces Alliance. It is also estimated that 17 of the 120 independents in the GNC are associated with Justice and Construction.
In 2014, the Justice and Construction Party announced that it was withdrawing from government in Libya after failing to secure enough votes to censure then Prime Minister, Ali Zeidan. All five of the party’s ministers – including those for Oil, Economy, and Housing – resigned as a result of the futile effort.
The Muslim Brotherhood's spokesman Mohamed Gaair said that the party would seek "to work on security and stability. We are still a new founded party, but we will work on the basis of Islamic principles and that doesn't mean the shallow meaning of religion most people think of like banning women from leaving home. This is not rational." This followed an announcement by the NTC's interim government that Sharia law was to be the foundation for new Libyan legislation. It has now also called for a National unity government in order to end sectarianism and further conflict. It has also called for all parties to have dialogue with each other in "post revolutionary" Libya.
In June 2017, the Libyan House of Representatives (HoR) produced a list of terrorists inside Libya with links to Qatar, a widely purported sponsor of terrorism. The list was signed by Talal Almaihub, chairman of the defense and national security committee of the HoR. Multiple Brotherhood members were named in the list, including executive member, Nizar Kiwan, major donor, Abdulrazaq al-Aradi, and Ali Salabi, “the man considered to the ideological brains of the Muslim Brotherhood.”
In November 2016, former prime minister of Libya, Khalifa al-Ghawil, stated in an interview with Libya Al-Hadith TV that the JCP was ruining the country. He had made similar statements before, ultimately claiming that the Brotherhood had an “agenda that was against the interests of Libyans.”
In July 2013, angry protesters stormed the party’s offices in Tripoli following the assassination of prominent Libyan political activist, Abdelsalam al-Mismari, purportedly killed by the Brotherhood. Mismari was one of the original activists that helped drive a movement to overthrow Gaddafi and was highly critical of the Brotherhood’s affiliate party in Libya thereafter.
“We want all political parties to be dissolved […] They’re the cause of all our problems. First we need a constitution, then laws regulation political life before parties can begin operating.”
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- Official website (Arabic)