Libya's eastern parliament pulls confidence from unity government


FILE PHOTO: Libya's unity government Prime Minister Abdulhamid Dbeibah looks on at Libya's mission to the United Nations in New York, U.S. July 16, 2021. REUTERS/Michelle Nichols

TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Libya's eastern-based parliament said on Tuesday it had withdrawn confidence from the unity government, though it would continue to operate as a caretaker administration.

The vote in the House of Representatives exemplifies the wrangling between rival factions and state bodies that has plagued U.N.-backed efforts to resolve Libya's decade-long crisis by establishing a unity government and holding national elections.

In 2014, eastern and western factions split Libya in two in a civil war, with an internationally recognised government in Tripoli and a rival administration backed by the House of Representatives in the east.

Prime Minister Abdulhamid Dbeibah's unity government was selected through a U.N.-sponsored dialogue and his government was installed by the House of Representatives in March.

Dbeibeh has a mandate to unify state institutions, improve government services and prepare for national presidential and parliamentary elections.

However, on Tuesday, after parliament summoned Dbeibeh and his ministers to answer questions this month, 89 of the 113 members present voted to withdraw confidence in him, the chamber's spokesman and several other parliament members said.

There was no immediate comment from the government.

The U.N. forum decided that presidential and parliamentary elections should take place on Dec. 24, but disagreements now rage over the legal basis for the votes and the laws that will govern them.

This month, parliamentary speaker Aguila Saleh said the House of Representatives had passed a law for the presidential election, though it did not hold a final vote on the bill.

The validity of that law was promptly challenged by the High Council of State based in Tripoli, in the west, which produced its own, alternative election law.

The House of Representatives, which was elected seven years ago but divided when Libya split, has not yet produced a law for a parliamentary election.

(Reporting by Ayman al-Warfali in Benghazi and Ahmed Elumami in Tripoli, writing by Angus McDowall; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

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