Libya unit urges power transfer to unity gov’t
TUNIS - Reuters
Front loaders clear debris from clashes between military forces loyal to Libya’s eastern government and the Shura Council of Libyan Revolutionaries. REUTERS PhotoLibya’s U.N.-backed Presidential Council called on the country’s institutions March 12 to begin a transfer of authority to a unity government, and appealed to the international community to stop dealing with any rival powers.
The Presidential Council is tasked with guiding through a transition to end the political chaos and armed conflict that have plagued Libya since the fall of leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. Its statement suggests it will seek to take power despite continuing opposition from hardliners in both of Libya’s competing parliaments - the eastern House of Representatives (HOR) and the rival General National Congress (GNC) in Tripoli. But the move drew immediate criticism from some members of the group that in December signed the U.N.-mediated deal for the creation of the unity government. Western nations hope a unity government can help tackle a growing threat from Islamic State, which has used a security vacuum and political divisions in Libya to establish a foothold in the north African country. The Tunis-based Presidential Council nominated a unity government last month, but recognition of the proposed cabinet has been held up by the failure of the HOR to vote to approve it.
It is also unclear when a unity government could move to Tripoli, where the security situation is still volatile and some armed factions may try to prevent it from operating. However, the council said on March 12 that a document signed by a majority of HOR members backing the new government, as well as support from the group that signed the U.N.-backed deal, represented a “green light to start work.”