Libya bans religious political parties

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

Mohammed 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 Qaddafi. 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.