Libyan parliament removes newly elected prime minister

 

Libya's parliament ousted the country's newly elected prime minister in a no-confidence vote, the latest blow to hopes that the country's factions could agree on a government charged with restoring stability after last year's civil war.

Mustafa Abushagur was Libya's first elected prime minister after last year's overthrow of dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

He represented an offshoot of the country's oldest anti-Gaddafi opposition movement, and was considered a compromise candidate acceptable to both liberals and Islamists.

But his proposed Cabinet was struck down by a legislature representing dozens of divided tribes, towns, and regions across the country, many of whom feel they are owed the spoils of victory over Gaddafi.

He was forced to withdraw his first ministerial line-up under pressure and his second attempt to submit one resulted in his ouster.

In a short statement on Libya al-Wataniya TV after the vote, Mr Abushagur said he respected the decision made by the General National Congress as part of Libya's democracy but warned of instability if it takes too long to elect his replacement.

"There should be quickness in the election of the prime minister and formation of the government so the country does not slip into a vacuum," he said.

He had 25 days from his September 12 appointment by parliament to form a Cabinet and win the legislature's approval, but that deadline expired yesterday.

The Congress voted 125 to 44 in favour of removing him as prime minister, with 17 abstaining from voting. He had just put forth 10 names for key ministerial posts when the no-confidence vote was held.

Until a replacement can be elected by the parliament, management of Libya's government is in the hands of the legislature.

The Congress will have to vote on a new prime minister in the coming weeks. The incoming leader will be responsible for rebuilding Libya's army and police force and removing major pockets of support for the former regime.

AP

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