Libyans protest over parliament extension

Libyans protest over parliament extension

Several thousand Libyans marched in Tripoli and Benghazi to demand the dissolution of the interim national parliament, whose mandate had originally been due to expire on Friday with the country deeply split over its future, Reuters reported.

The parliament dispute has exposed Libya's continued fragility nearly three years after the fall of Muammar Gaddafi, with rival Islamist and nationalist parties, former rebels and regional tribes all pushing their own political visions.

Elected in 2012 and without popular backing, the General National Congress (GNC) was to end its term on February 7. But members extended its mandate to give a special assembly time to draft a new constitution, seen as a key to stability.

Waving Libyan flags and posters with "No to the extension", protesters filled Martyrs' Square in the capital and main square in the eastern city of Benghazi in peaceful rallies.

The GNC is deadlocked between the nationalist National Forces Alliance (NFA) and the Justice and Construction Party (JCP), the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood.

"It can't be any more chaotic or worse than it is now," said Afifa Ahmed, a human resources worker in Tripoli. "What has the GNC contributed to the country? Nothing."

Three GNC members, one from the NFA and two independents, said they had resigned on Friday in support of the protesters.

With Libya's democratic transition in crisis, its government weak and its army in training, brigades of former fighters who battled against Gaddafi have allied with competing political factions to become key power brokers.

Two rival former militia brigades - the Zintanis and the Misratans - are loosely aligned with the NFA and with the Islamist leadership respectively, increasing risks they may use military muscle to exert political pressure.

Militia in the east have blockaded ports and slashed oil exports, Libya's main revenue lifeline, and security remains fragile, highlighted by Prime Minister Ali Zeidan's own brief abduction by gunmen last October.

Still, Zeidan has managed to survive opponents' attempts to call a vote of no-confidence in the GNC, mostly due to splits among lawmakers and the lack of a unifying alternative to replace his government.

"I urge all citizens to be committed to peaceful means. All demands can be implemented peacefully and through dialogue," Zeidan said, urging restraint in the GNC standoff.

Libya's messy transition contrasts sharply with its North African neighbor Tunisia, where ruling Islamists have ceded power to a caretaker government to defuse their deadlock with secular opposition parties.

That compromise opened the way to finish Tunisia's new constitution and allow a non-political technocrat cabinet to govern until elections are held around October.

Four decades of one-man rule by Gaddafi have left Libyans with little preparation for a smooth transition to democracy.

Reflecting the political confusion, many protesters on Friday wanted new elections, but some called for a presidential committee or a high court to replace parliament until elections.

After months of squabbling, the GNC agreed on Monday that its would extend its mandate while a 60-member commission would write the new constitution. Elections to chose that commission will be held on February 20.

GNC lawmakers say if the commission shows progress in 60 days, they will stay on to assure stability until it finishes. If not, they will hold new elections for a new interim assembly.

Highlighting the tense security situation in the capital, unidentified gunmen tried to storm the Libyan army's command headquarters in Tripoli on Thursday, exchanging gunfire with soldiers before stealing rifles and military vehicles.

On a brighter note, Italian and Libyan officials said on Friday two Italian construction workers abducted three weeks ago had been freed. Details of their release were not immediately clear, but the two had been kidnapped in Derna, east of Benghazi, where they had been working at a cement factory.

Iran’s AEOI must implement decision of the Iranian parliament
Iran’s AEOI must implement decision of the Iranian parliament
Iranian government must suspend additional control mechanisms of nuclear deal - Iranian parliament
Iranian government must suspend additional control mechanisms of nuclear deal - Iranian parliament
Iran say it would welcome US returning to nuclear deal
Iran say it would welcome US returning to nuclear deal
Loading Bars
Number of COVID-2019 cases across globe up by over 564,000 in past day
Employment in Iran's Bushehr Province enlarges
Average yield of tobacco in Azerbaijan in 2020 exceeds last year volume
Iranian Energy Exchange announces products to be on sale November 30
Weekly review of events in financial market of Azerbaijan
Norway calls on all political parties to enable new, more diverse parliament in Georgia
Turkey condemns killing of key Iranian nuclear scientist as act of 'terrorism'
Argentine prosecutors investigate death of soccer star Maradona
Performances results of Azerbaijani gymnasts at European Championships in rhythmic gymnastics unveiled
Iran reveals details of exports through Bandar Lengeh County
Projects within Industrialization Map framework being implemented in Kazakhstan's Akmola
Overview of events in agricultural sector of Azerbaijan for last week of November
Activities on provision of Russian peacekeeping contingent held (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Iran boosts manufacturing of passenger cars
UAE cabinet approves new cybersecurity body, climate change envoy
Geostat reveals volume of ferroalloys exported by Georgia to Turkey
Bahar Azadi gold coin price still falling in Iran
Kazakhstan continues introduction of mobile diagnostic tools in railway sector
Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan discuss possibilities of attracting investors to Azerbaijani territories liberated from occupation
Britain expects 'very significant' week for Brexit talks as clock ticks down
Iran declares cargo transportation from Sistan and Baluchestan Province
Death toll from COVID-19 tops 172,000 in Brazil
Chinese companies to process Uzbek garlic for further export to US and European countries
Turkey's export of grain, legumes to France declines
Iran reveals its COVID-19 data for November 29
Details of Iran’s trade turnover announced
EU aims to support Georgia in its efforts to reform electricity market
Azerbaijan confirms 4,170 new COVID-19 cases, 1,985 recoveries
5.5-magnitude quake hits Vanuatu
Azersu LLC announces tender for purchase of equipment for laboratory
Kazakhstan's import of Turkish cement up
Azerbaijan shows footage of Aghdam's Shahbuldag village (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Expenses on construction of enterprises in Iran’s Isfahan Province increases
Number of enterprises launched in Iran's Ilam Province shrinks
Turkmengas opens tender for maintenance of gas turbine generators
At least 30 police killed, over 20 wounded in suicide car bomb explosion in E. Afghanistan
Georgia reports 4 426 new coronavirus cases, 3 721 recoveries, 35 deaths
Over 5,500 patients recover from coronavirus in Moscow in the past day
Azerbaijan shows footage of liberated from occupation villages of Kalbajar region (PHOTO/VIDEO)
China increases import of Turkish cars
Employment in Iran's Alborz Province declines
The President of Turkmenistan receives representative of medical community of Germany
S. Korea reports 450 more COVID-19 cases, 33,824 in total
Azerbaijan's turnover on payment cards in 10M2020 up
Inter-Agency Coordination Council discusses enforcement of Covid restrictions
Azerbaijan has ample opportunities and potential for artificial intelligence dev't
Trump may announce plans for 2024 presidential race during Biden’s inauguration
826 more coronavirus cases recorded in Kazakhstan over 24 hours
France sees further fall in COVID-19 hospitalizations as lockdown exit starts
Turkey's Temsa makes 1st electric bus exports to Sweden
Iran registers monthly positive trade balance
Scottish dev’t agency eyes establishing co-op with companies in Uzbekistan’s Karakalpakstan
Croatian PM in self-quarantine after wife contracts COVID-19
UK records another 15,871 coronavirus cases with 479 deaths
Some 46,000 people gather in Paris to protest against security bill
Kazakhstan to modify large energy saving projects on railways
Severe fire danger for Australia as temperatures smash records
Dozens of Boko Haram militants killed in Nigeria airstrikes
Pope installs new cardinals, including first African-American
WHO reports new daily record high of over 747,000 COVID-19 cases
UK police arrest 155 in anti-lockdown protests in London
Assistant to Azerbaijani president posts footage from Tartar, Aghdam cities
UK, France sign new deal to stop illegal migration across Channel
Iran discloses electricity generation at Iran's Bandar Abbas TPP
Turkey reports 6,714 new COVID-19 cases, 487,912 in total
Zarif: Iran at forefront of fighting terrorism
Georgia takes necessary steps to avoid increase in bread prices
Ethiopian military has taken 'full control' of Tigray capital, government says
Iran’s Bahar Azadi gold coin price continues to fall
Weekly review of Azerbaijani precious metals market
Kazakhstan raises import of grain, legumes from Turkey
Buy/sell operations at Iran Mercantile Exchange revealed
AP publishes article covering Armenian missile attack on Azerbaijan’s Ganja on Oct.17 (PHOTO/VIDEO)
OIC adopts resolutions in connection with Armenia's aggression against Azerbaijan
President, members of Board of European Muslim Forum send letter to President Aliyev
Aghdam district of Azerbaijan after 27 years of Armenian occupation (VIDEO)
Kazakhstan to bring waste processing level to average European level
UK appoints minister in charge of COVID-19 vaccine rollout
Number of blocked malware in AzStateNet network drops
Airport in Uzbekistan to buy auto parts via tender
Iranian Energy Exchange announces products to be on sale November 29
Azerbaijani team takes third place in group exercises at 36th European Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships
At least 6 killed in Somali capital suicide bombing
Microsoft Azerbaijan to support all initiatives in liberated territories of Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan shows footage of Kalbajar's Vang village (VIDEO)
Police fire tear gas at Paris protest against police violence
Electricity imports growing in Georgia
Cargo, passenger traffic via Turkish Sabiha Gokcen Airport slumps amid pandemic
Uzbek-Korean JSC Uz-Dong Won Co. announces tender for steel pipes supply
Cargo transportation at Turkish Antalya airport reduces
Austria records nearly 1,000 COVID-19 deaths over past 10 days
State Employment Agency of Azerbaijan opens tender on supporting start-up projects
Results of Azerbaijan's junior national team performance at 36th European Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships announced
Details of Iran’s exports to Iraq declared
Azerbaijan reports 4,212 new COVID-19 cases, 1,760 recoveries
Four citizens dead as result of mine exploding in Fuzuli - Azerbaijani Prosecutor General's Office
Kazakhstan's export volumes to China surge despite COVID-19
Assistant to Azerbaijan's president, diplomats, Garabagh FC representatives visit Aghdam Mosque (PHOTO)
Turkmenistan committed to promoting socio-economic development of Afghanistan
Georgian oil companies seek to avoid price increases
All news