29 August 2014

Libya Government Resigns After Islamists Restart GNC

Libya's interim government has announced its resignation days after a rival Islamist administration was created. The international community has become increasingly concerned at the chaotic situation in the country.

Operating in eastern Libya to avoid the Islamist militias that have a strong presence in Tripoli, the interim government led by Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thani (pictured) announced that it had "presented its resignation to the elected parliament" late on Thursday. For security reasons, the legislature has temporarily based itself in Tobruk, about 600 kilometers (360 miles) east of the capital.

Libya's government resigns to allow parliament to form new cabinet http://t.co/Wm5BDjFNGC - - Reuters World (@ReutersWorld) August 28, 2014

The announcement came just three days after the General National Congress - officially replaced by the new parliament after elections in June - named the pro-Islamist figure Omar al-Hassi to form a new government. Islamists had proved much stronger in the GNC than in the new assembly, and they reconvened the body in Tripoli this week, following an appeal by groups that contest the legitimacy of the new, distant parliament.

"The GNC dismissed Abdullah al-Thani as head of government and gave Omar al-Hassi a week to form a salvation government," GNC spokesman Omar Ahmidan had told journalists in Tripoli on Monday.

'Act of rebellion'

In its resignation statement on Thursday, the internationally recognized administration again denounced the moves to create the alternative Islamist government. Thani's Cabinet also announced hopes that the parliament, which it described as "the only legitimate authority in the country," would form a new government "representing all Libyan people ... and capable of re-establishing security and building a lawful state."

"It's an act of rebellion against the legitimacy of parliament, which is recognized by the international community," the statement read.

Factions spent weeks fighting for control of Tripoli's airport.

Islamists had called on the GNC to reconvene after they accused the new parliament of complicity in air raids by Egyptian and UAE planes last week on militia battling to capture Tripoli's airport from a nationalist faction operating out of Zintan. The Islamist fighters claimed to have seized the airport on Saturday. The long battle for the airport was just one part of a larger cycle of violence in Libya in recent months.

(Reuters, AFP)

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