100 Libya MPs back unity government, demand new vote

WEB_PHOTO_KOBLER_27012016

United Nations envoy for Libya, Martin Kobler, holds a press conference in the Tunisian capital Tunis on 27 January, 2016.

United Nations envoy for Libya, Martin Kobler, holds a press conference in the Tunisian capital Tunis on 27 January, 2016.

WEB_PHOTO_KOBLER_27012016

United Nations envoy for Libya, Martin Kobler, holds a press conference in the Tunisian capital Tunis on 27 January, 2016.

United Nations envoy for Libya, Martin Kobler, holds a press conference in the Tunisian capital Tunis on 27 January, 2016.

TRIPOLI - A majority of lawmakers from Libya&39;s internationally recognised parliament said Wednesday that they supported a UN-backed unity government but had faced intimidation before a confidence vote.

The parliament, located in the eastern town of Tobruk, was unable to hold the vote on Tuesday for the new government line-up because it lacked a quorum.

 

 

In a petition seen by AFP, 100 of the parliament&39;s 176 members said they supported a unity government but were "forcibly prevented" from voting on Tuesday after receiving threats.

"We, 100 members of the House of Representatives, confirm... our agreement on the proposed cabinet line-up," the lawmakers said.

"We need to decide on an appropriate place for a new parliament session as it has become impossible to hold one" in Tobruk.

Oil-rich Libya has had two rival administrations since mid-2014 when the recognised government was forced from Tripoli after a militia alliance including Islamists overran the capital.

The United Nations has been pushing both sides to back a unity government.

 

 

The UN&39;s Libya envoy Martin Kobler said it was "unacceptable" that lawmakers had been threatened.

"Parliamentarians have to decide freely," he said in a statement, demanding that "the parliamentary process is unhindered and conducted in an environment free from threats or intimidation."

A Presidential Council, born of a UN-brokered agreement in December between a minority of members of the rival parliaments, last week put forward a unity government of 18 members.

A previous cabinet line-up of 32 ministers proposed by premier-designate Fayez al-Sarraj was rejected by the Tobruk parliament as being too large.

 

 

According to the parliament&39;s website, 99 lawmakers would need to vote in favour of the new unity government for it to receive the legislature&39;s approval.

Libya descended into chaos after the 2011 ouster of longtime dictator Moamer Kadhafi, allowing extremist organisations including the Islamic State group to gain significant ground.