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Libya rejects UN-backed unity government

January 25, 2016

Libya's internationally recognized parliament has rejected a unity government, backed by the United Nations (UN). The result of the vote could prove a further blow to international efforts to end years of unrest.

Libyan flag
Image: picture alliance/dpa

Of the 104 members attending the session in the eastern Libyan city of Tobruk on Monday, 89 voted against the government, which was proposed by Libya's Presidential Council last week.

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

Libyen Tobruk Parlament 2.8.2014
With no control over the capital, Libya's internationally-endorsed lawmakers convene in Tobruk (archive photo)Image: Reuters

A national unity government, lead by businessman Fayez al-Sarraj, was formed last week under the UN-sponsored accord. Libya's recognized parliament needed to approve, however, in order for it to be fully implemented in the capital.

Ahead of Monday's vote, the UN and Western diplomats urged Libya to back the agreement as a step toward ending the political chaos and strife that have gripped the country since the 2011, which saw the ouster and death of longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi, but not the creation of a stable new regime.

The chaos escalated in August 2014 after a militia alliance, including Islamists, overran Tripoli, causing the recognized administration to flee east. The internationally recognized authorities now sit in the east, while the Islamists, calling themselves Libya Dawn, continue to be based in the capital.

The "Islamic State" (IS) has taken advantage of the turmoil, with militants continuing to expand their influence across Libya. In recent weeks, IS has launched a series of attacks from its stronghold in the city of Sirte on facilities in the "oil crescent" along Libya's northern coast.

ksb/msh (Reuters, AFP)

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