4 August 2014

Libya: New Libyan Parliament Opens Amid Growing Violence

Photo: Al Jazeera English
Weeks of violence in Benghazi and the capital Tripoli have forced many foreign diplomats to leave the country.

Newly elected Libyan parliament has held its first official session in the city of Tobruk as militias continue to fight over the north African country's oil-rich towns. The meeting was boycotted by pro-Islamist members.

The 200-member House of Representatives elected in June took over the mandate from the previous assembly on Monday. Its predecessors, the General Congress, were elected in 2012 and dominated by Islamist parties, including the Muslim Brotherhood.

The Monday session was attended by around 170 lawmakers and was observed by members of the Arab League and the Organization of the Islamic Conference.

The newly-elected parliamentarians had held an emergency session in the eastern city of Tobruk on Saturday, August 2, to discuss the spiraling violence in the country. The session was moved to Tobruk because of the ongoing fighting in the capital Tripoli and the strategically-important port city of Benghazi.

For two weeks, rival militias have been battling for control of the main Tripoli airport. At least 200 people have been killed in the country's worse violence since the toppling of former dictator Muamar Gaddafi's government in 2011.

A giant fuel depot is burning in Tripoli. Western countries have evacuated their embassies and are getting their citizens out of the country. The international community seems helpless in the face of a looming civil war. (29.07.2014)

Post-Gaddafi rulers have struggled to impose order with much of the country paralyzed by political infighting and armed conflicts.

'Model state'

New parliamentarians, however, expressed hope and optimism for the country's future.

"We will prove to the world that Libya is not a failed country, and will rise very soon to become a model state," lawmaker Abu Bakr Baira said at the beginning of the session.

The session was boycotted by pro-Islamist members who called for holding a rival opening session in Tripoli.

"We are in a crucial period where the rattle of guns are louder than reason," said Ezz Eddin al-Awami, a member of the outgoing parliament, at the Tobruk meeting.

Evacuations and travel restrictions

France has already evacuated French and British nationals from Libya due to the worsening security situation in the north African country. The French embassy has also been temporarily closed.

Other European countries including Britain, Germany and the Netherlands have also advised their nationals to leave the country.

The United States evacuated staff from its Libyan embassy two weeks ago.

 - Reuters, dpa, AP

More on This

Fresh Tripoli Airport Battles Claim 22

Libya says 22 people were killed in a day of fighting in Tripoli between rival militias vying to take control of the… Read more »

Copyright © 2014 Deutsche Welle. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 1,200 reports a day from more than 140 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.