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Amid Fighting in Benghazi, Libyan Supreme Court Rules Against Election of Mi'aitiq, Leaves Prime Minister Thinni in Office

June 5, 2014

Security officers stand guard outside Libya's Supreme Court in Tripoli, Libya, June 5, 2014. Libya's Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that the election of the new prime minister Ahmed Maitiq was illegal, according to court officials.

Security officers stand guard outside Libya's Supreme Court in Tripoli, Libya, June 5, 2014


Libya's Supreme Court Declares PM's Election Illegal

Edward Yeranian
VOA News, June 05, 2014, 7:41 AM

Libya's Supreme Court says one of the country's two rival prime ministers, Ahmed Maitiq, was named "illegally," due to the absence of a quorum during the vote.  In the country without a permanent constitution and a disputed parliament, the decision appears to leave caretaker Prime Minister Abdallah Thani in charge.  But, Thani says no final decision will be made until Monday.
The Supreme Court decision declaring Ahmed Maitiq's election null and void added fresh confusion to an already unsettled political arena. “The election of Ahmed Maitiq,” the court insisted, “took place without a majority of votes and his appointment was unconstitutional.”
Two sessions of Libya's interim parliament were held last month to elect a successor to caretaker prime minister Abdallah Thani, who resigned after an attack on his home. Maitiq won the first ballot with 123 votes and the second with 83. Opponents insisted that a quorum was not present either time.
Al-Arabiya TV reported that Thani and his acting government left the capital for the town of Bayda, in the east of the country, due to threats from militia groups which support Maitiq. Thani told journalists that a final court ruling on who is prime minister would take place on June 9.
He said that the legality of the new government will be decided on Monday (June 9) and the process of transferring power to Maitiq will take place if the court rules in his favor.
Maitiq, backed by the Central Shield militia from his hometown of Misrata, reportedly occupied the prime minister's residence Tuesday, amid opposition from other groups. Both the militia and Maitiq reportedly belong to the Muslim Brotherhood, which opponents claim is trying to seize power in Libya.
At the same time, former Libyan Army chief of staff General Khalifa Haftar continues to wage a battle against Islamist militias in different parts of the country. A suicide-bomber from one of those Islamist militias blew himself up outside Haftar's headquarters in Benghazi Wednesday, slightly wounding the general.
Following the attack, Haftar went on TV to say that he had a mandate from the people to rid the country of lawless militias, which he said are made up of unruly young people.
He said that his forces represent the Libyan national army and are composed of men who are loyal to the entire nation and not just to their own region.
U.N. envoy Tareq Mitri, who was reportedly roughed up by militiamen upon arrival in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, Wednesday, told journalists that the international community is worried about instability in Libya, but that it is up to Libyans themselves to solve their own problems:
He said that the solution to the Libyan crisis is an internal matter and that the country should not be a battleground for foreign forces. Seven countries, he notes, have sent envoys to deal with the crisis since it affects the stability of the region. But, he argued, the international community can't help Libya if Libyans don't help themselves.
Former prime minister Ali Zeidan, who was deposed in a disputed no-confidence vote in April, told Libyan TV that “getting rid of armed militia groups is a national duty... in order to put an end to terrorism and violence.”

He stopped short, however, of supporting General Haftar, but said he supported the goals of his mission.


Libya court rules PM election illegal

Independent, June 5, 2014

Libya’s Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that the election of the new Prime Minister Ahmed Maitiq was illegal, according to court officials.

Maitiq, a businessman from Libya’s third largest city of Misrata, was sworn in as prime minister last month, but he was immediately challenged by his predecessor Abdullah Thinni and some judicial officials.

Thinni has until now refused to transfer power, although forces allegedly loyal to Maitiq has occupied the government compound.

Some judicial officials said the earlier parliamentary confidence vote which confirmed Maitiq as the new prime minister was invalid because less than half of the lawmakers, mostly Maitiq backers attended the session.

The Libyan parliament has been stuck in a deadlock between the secular groups and Islamists since the 2011 popular protests that toppled the country’s former leader Muammar Gaddafi.

Some analysts said the ruling may set the stage for a more intense power struggle between different interest groups.


Libyan premier visits Benghazi after wave of fighting


Thu Jun 5, 2014 2:24pm EDT

(Reuters) -

Libya's outgoing premier Abdullah al-Thinni traveled on Thursday to the eastern city of Benghazi, hit by heavy fighting between irregular forces and Islamists for the last three weeks.

Public life in the port city, a base for oil firms, has largely come to a standstill since renegade general Khalifa Haftar declared war on the Islamist militias, saying the government had failed to tackle them. Tripoli has denounced Haftar as trying to stage a coup.

More than 100 people have been killed in almost daily clashes, sometimes involving helicopters or warplanes and hitting residential districts. Universities have been mostly closed and many residents have been hiding indoors.

With a no-fly zone in place, Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni and several ministers had to fly to Abraq airport 200 km (120 miles) east of Benghazi and travel from there by car.

"We came to Benghazi to support the city's residents, special forces and security forces," Thinni told Reuters during the visit. "We know what the special forces need in terms of weapons and ammunition."

He said wounded people would be sent abroad for treatment. Local hospitals have asked for blood donations because of the large number of casualties.

Libya is threatened with chaos, as government and parliament are unable to control militias, armed tribesmen and Islamists who helped overthrow Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 but now defy state authority.

The country currently has two prime ministers. Last month parliament voted into office Ahmed Maiteeq in an election disputed by some lawmakers and officials. Thinni has refused to hand over power until courts review the election process.

(Reporting by Ayman al-Warfalli and Feras Bosalum; Writing by Ulf Laessing; Editing by Andrew Roche)

Libya's renegade general survives assassination attempt

BENGHAZI, Libya, June 4, 2014 (Xinhua) --

Libya's "coup" general Khalifa Haftar on Wednesday survives a suicide attack on his army camp in Benghazi, according to one air force commander.

The suicide attacker blew himself up at the gate of Haftar's headquarter in Bomrem region some 60 kilometers southeast of Benghazi, killing three guards at the site, one of Haftar's air force commanders Brigadier Saqr Jeroshi told Xinhua in an telephone interview.

"The guards saw a car rushing towards them and it exploded near the headquarter and caused massive damage." Jeroshi said.

Jeroshi added he got slightly injured and Haftar was not hurt. It was not immediately clear about the identities of the attacker.

Local media reported that the Islamist fighters in Benghazi were seeking revenge after days of air strikes and attacks by forces loyal to Haftar. Haftar, who played a major role in toppling Libya's former leader Muammar Gaddafi, has led a series of military operations against Islamist militias in Benghazi and some pro-Islamist lawmakers in Tripoli in the name of "purging terrorists."

He has recently gained support from army and government officials but the interim parliament still defined his maneuvers as "coup".

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