Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

Ebola in Nigeria: First death outside of Lagos

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Niger : Top Oppostion figure to be questioned in baby trafficking scandal

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Liberia: President dismisses top officials who ignored call back

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

The deleted tweets of Manuel Valls

Read more

DEBATE

How to Stop Ebola: WHO Says Cases Could Exceed 20,000 (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

How to Stop Ebola: WHO Says Cases Could Exceed 20,000

Read more

WEB NEWS

'Ice Bucket Challenge' angers anti-abortion activists

Read more

#TECH 24

Tomorrow's Transport Today

Read more

FOCUS

Mothers and children leaving Honduras at all costs

Read more

  • French businesses ‘hoping for a new Thatcher’

    Read more

  • UN says 43 peacekeepers captured in Golan Heights

    Read more

  • Peru seizes record 6.5 tonnes of Europe-bound cocaine

    Read more

  • Russian troops have entered Ukraine, says Kiev

    Read more

  • PSG face Barcelona, Ajax in tough Champions League draw

    Read more

  • In pictures: Billions of locusts invade Madagascan capital

    Read more

  • Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie say ‘I do’ in France

    Read more

  • Erdogan sworn in as Turkey's president

    Read more

  • Assad cannot be partner in fight against terrorism, says Hollande

    Read more

  • New Ebola case in Nigeria brings death toll to 1,552

    Read more

  • Video: 'Neither Baghdad nor the US can defeat the Islamic State'

    Read more

  • Platini will not run against Blatter for FIFA presidency

    Read more

  • Air France pilots announce week-long strike in September

    Read more

  • New French economy minister takes swipe at 35-hour work week

    Read more

  • Uzi shooting by 9-year-old rekindles gun debate

    Read more

  • Mother of American journalist asks IS leader for his release

    Read more

  • UN probe accuses Syrian regime, Islamists of ‘crimes against humanity’

    Read more

  • Uruguayans sign up to grow marijuana at home

    Read more

  • Missouri governor appoints black public safety director

    Read more

Africa

Libyan militias extend deadline for parliament to quit ahead of vote

© afp

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-02-19

Libya's powerful militias have extended to Friday a deadline demanding that the interim parliament step down or face arrest. The move comes as Libyans prepare to vote on Thursday for a panel that will draft a new constitution.

Militias made up of former rebels from the western town of Zintan had given the General National Congress (GNC), the country's highest political authority, a late Tuesday deadline to quit, threatening to seize any lawmakers who failed to comply.

But Prime Minister Ali Zeidan said that a "compromise" had been reached with the militias, extending the deadline by 72 hours to Friday. He said that "wisdom had prevailed" after discussions with representatives from the militias, the assembly and the United Nations.

One rebel commander, Jamal Habil, accused the parliament of "seizing power" and said it was trying to extend its mandate for as long as possible. The mandate of the parliament was to have expired this month but a motion was passed to extend it by another year.

Many Libyans are angry that parliament, widely viewed as a failed institution, should hold on to power until then.

Yielding to pressure in the wake of street protests, the GNC agreed on Sunday to hold early polls to elect new transitional authorities rather than wait for the constitution to be finalised.

The speaker of the GNC, Nuri Abu Sahmein, had earlier rejected the militias' ultimatum, calling it "a coup d'état" and saying the army had been ordered to act against the militias.

Zeidan himself was kidnapped and briefly held by armed militiamen last year.

Constitutional panel

Thursday's vote marks the latest milestone in the chaotic transition following the 2011 overthrow of Moammar Gaddafi, but it has so far generated little enthusiasm among Libyans who are frustrated by the government's inability to impose order on the rebel groups that helped depose him.

In the more than two years since Gaddafi was captured and killed, former rebel brigades – many of them armed with heavy weapons looted from Gaddafi's arsenals – have carved out fiefdoms across the sprawling country, with many refusing government demands to disarm or to join the armed forces.

The ultimatum from the Zintan militias was also criticised by several other rebel groups, political parties and civil society groups, which voiced support for the elected government assembly.

The militias issuing Tuesday's ultimatum included the Al-Qaaqaa and Al-Sawaiq brigades, two of the most powerful and well-disciplined. They are both nominally loyal to the regular Libyan army.

The newly elected constitutional panel will be in charge of deciding key issues such as establishing Libya's new system of government, outlining the status of ethnic minorities and determining the role of Islamic sharia law.

But only 1.1 million people have registered to vote, compared with more than 2.7 million who registered for the 2012 vote on the interim parliament, from an electoral roll of 3.4 million.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)
 

Date created : 2014-02-19

  • LIBYA

    Trouble in Tripoli - meeting the militias

    Read more

  • LIBYA

    Dozens killed as Tripoli residents clash with militias

    Read more

  • LIBYA

    Libya launches air strikes against militias in restive south

    Read more

COMMENT(S)