Libya parliament rejects UN-backed unity government: MPs

Libya parliament rejects UN-backed unity government: MPs

BENGHAZI - Agence France-Presse
Libya parliament rejects UN-backed unity government: MPs

Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj speaks during a joint press conference with EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini (unseen) in Tunis on January 8, 2016. AFP Photo

Libya’s internationally recognized parliament on Jan. 25 voted to reject a U.N.-backed unity government, lawmakers said, in a major blow to international efforts to end the country’s unrest.

“We voted against endorsing the government and ask... to be presented with another government,” parliamentarian Ali al-Gaydi said.

Of the 104 lawmakers in attendance, 89 rejected the new government, he said.

A national unity government headed by businessman Fayez al-Sarraj and comprising 32 ministers was formed on Jan. 19 under a U.N.-sponsored accord signed in December 2015.

The United Nations had called on the country’s lawmakers to endorse the new administration.

“I congratulate Libyan people & Presidency Council on formation of Govt. of National Accord,” U.N. envoy Martin Kolber wrote on Twitter on Jan. 19.

Parliament member Al-Saliheen Abdelnabbi said the government had been rejected because its cabinet was too large.

He called for “a smaller government without this high number of ministries.”

Libya has been in chaos since the 2011 ouster of longtime dictator Moamer Kadhafi.

The country has two rival parliaments and administrations-- in the militia-held capital and in eastern Libya - as well as the new unity government.

On Dec. 17, 2015, under U.N. guidance, around 80 of 188 lawmakers from Libya’s internationally recognized parliament and 50 of 136 members of the Tripoli-based General National Congress signed the deal.

World powers are pressing all sides in the conflict to accept the power-sharing deal, which has been given added urgency by fears that jihadists in Libya are building a new stronghold on Europe’s doorstep.

During his meeting in Ankara with al-Sarraj, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said on Jan. 11, that Turkey would support Libyan unity and solidarity. 

“Turkey will always take your side in the context of Libya’s economic development and reconstruction when Libya gains stability,” Davutoğlu said.