19 January 2016

Libya: Factions Announce Unity Government

Photo: Kate Thomas/IRIN
A Libyan rebel fighter on the steps of a bombed out building in Ajdabiya (file photo).

A United Nations peace deal has resulted in a unity government for Libya, hoping to resolve years of bloodshed. Many members of both parliaments have expressed their doubts about the plan.

The UN-backed unity government of Libya was announced on Tuesday, aimed at bringing the country's warring factions together under one umbrella. The Tunisia-based Presidential Council named 32 ministers, though reports of disputes over the distribution of posts cast a dampener on the list's release.

Libya has become one of the most fractured nations in the region since a rebellion against Moammar Gadhafi in 2011 saw the ouster and death of the dictator but not the creation of a stable new regime. Beginning in summer 2014, competing governments set up two different legislatures - the Islamists calling themselves Libya Dawn in Tripoli, and the vestiges of the democratically elected administration operating out of the eastern city of Tobruk.

Both groups are back by entangled alliances of former anti-Gadhafi rebels who have formed new paramilitaries. The West has hoped that the new government, the result of a UN-brokered peace process, would bring much-needed stability in the face of the encroaching presence of "Islamic State" (IS) terrorism , which has been benefiting from the chaos to gain a foothold in the country.

Members of the rival regimes have expressed their doubts on the efficacy of the new plan, however. Not only does it not fairly represent all of the feuding parties at play, there is no clear path to establishing the new government peacefully. Libya Dawn has even argued that the Presidential Council has already broken their military law during preparations to secure the capital last week.

es/jlw (AP, Reuters)

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