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Libya confirms Maiteeq as new prime minister

© AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-05-05

Libya’s parliamentary president on Monday confirmed businessman Ahmed Maiteeq as the country’s new prime minister, despite lawmakers’ attempts to try to stop the appointment.

"Ahmed Omar Maiteeq was appointed head of the transitional government, and asked to form his cabinet and present it to the GNC (the General National Congress) for a confidence vote within 15 days," said the text of the decision signed by Nouri Abu Sahmein.

The appointment makes the 42-year-old businessman Libya's youngest and fifth premier since long-time autocrat Muammar Gaddafi was toppled and killed in a 2011 uprising.

Secular lawmakers had challenged the move, saying Maiteeq, who is backed by parliament’s Islamists, had failed to win the necessary approval in an earlier vote to put him ahead of rival candidate Omar al-Hassi, a university professor who is backed by the hard-line Islamist bloc in parliament.

Critics say Maiteeq failed to obtain a quorum in a separate confidence vote needed to confirm his appointment. Only 113 MPs voted for him in the televised session, which was interrupted by shouts from dissenting lawmakers, falling short of the quorum of 120 votes.

“There are still discussions among Congress members,” lawmaker Abdulmenam al Yaseer told Reuters. “Some of them have asked to give more time for members who did not attend, while others said that Congress should keep the current government.”

Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni resigned three weeks ago after an attack by gunmen on his family outside his home.

No one was injured in the attack, which a spokesman for the former premier described as a "near miss".

Gunmen disrupt initial vote

Parliament started voting on Thinni’s successor on Wednesday but the session had to be postponed after gunmen of a defeated candidate stormed the building and wounded several people. A second-round vote between Maiteeq and runner-up Hasi was just getting under way when gunmen burst into the assembly.

Thinni resigned just one month into his term after replacing Ali Zeidan. Zeidan lost a confidence vote after militias in the volatile east seized an oil tanker as part of efforts to start selling Libyan oil independently of the government.

The parliamentary assembly is deadlocked between Islamists, tribal loyalties and nationalists, compounding a sense of gridlock in the country as Libya’s army tries to gain the upper hand against a wealth of rival militant groups, including tribal militias and Islamist extremists.

Libya's government and parliament have been unable to impose central authority on a country that has been awash with arms and rival militias since the 2011 uprising that toppled Muammar Gaddafi.

In February it agreed to hold early elections in an effort to assuage the Libyan population, which is increasingly frustrated at the continuing political chaos nearly three years after the fall of Gaddafi.

(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS, AP and AFP)

 

Date created : 2014-05-05

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