Libya proposes June election as crisis escalates

The June 25 election proposal appeared to be an attempt to ease tensions after Sunday's attack claimed by forces loyal to former General Khalifa Haftar

Libya proposes June election as crisis escalates

World Bulletin/News Desk

Libyan authorities on Tuesday proposed a June national election as the government sought to resolve a standoff over parliament involving powerful brigades of former rebel fighters.

Libya's General National Congress (GNC) is at the heart of the crisis after gunmen claiming loyality to a renegade former general attacked the parliament with anti-aircraft cannons on Sunday and demanding its suspension.

Parliament had said in February it would hold early elections, under pressure over Libya's chaotic transition to democracy since the 2011 uprising that ousted Muammar Gaddafi.

The June 25 election proposal appeared to be an attempt to ease tensions after Sunday's attack claimed by forces loyal to former General Khalifa Haftar, and to avoid the potential response by rival militia brigades.

"The commission has not yet officially announced June 25 as the date of the elections of the House of Representatives. But it is only one of the proposals to hold the elections," election commission member Abdulhakeem Al-Shaab told Reuters.

A local television station had earlier quoted the election commission saying that the June date was set.

In some of the worst fighting in Tripoli since the 2011 war, gunmen shelled the General National Congress on Sunday in an attack claimed by forces loyal to Haftar, who has begun a campaign to purge the North African country of Muslim Brotherhood.

Three years after the end of Gaddafi's one-man rule, Libya remains in constant upheaval, its government fragile, parliament split and the nascent army unable to control rival bands of former rebels who often challenge the state.

A former Gaddafi ally who split with the autocrat in the 1980s, Haftar is the latest player to emerge in Libya's network of ex-fighters, militias and militants vying for control over parts of the country.

Haftar's troops on Friday attacked militants in Benghazi in the worst clashes in the eastern city for months, killing more than 70 people. His allies say he wants to purge the country of "Islamist militants."

The parliament itself is split between parties loosely allied to the Muslim Brotherhood, secular National Forces Alliance, and scores of independents and tribal leaders of varying allegiances.

The United States has temporarily moved about 250 Marines and a number of aircraft to Sicily from Spain as a precaution due to concerns about Libya's turmoil, strengthening the U.S. ability to evacuate its citizens.

The U.S. State Department said on Tuesday it does not endorse Haftar's actions and called for dialogue to end the unrest in the North African oil producing state.

Libya parliament delays confidence vote for new govt

Libya's interim parliament on Tuesday delayed a vote of confidence for new Prime Minister Ahmed Miitig's government by one week, a Libyan lawmaker has said.

"The confidence vote has been delayed for one week," Omar Boshah told Anadolu Agency.

Parliament held a session at a Tripoli hotel on Monday amid tight security, one day after the government proposed that parliament go into recess in hopes of staving off a political crisis.

On Monday, the government proposed that parliament go into recess until fresh parliamentary polls could be held.

Under the proposal, the government pledged to form a ministerial panel tasked with opening channels of communication with militias in an effort to reach national consensus against any resort to the use of force.

Muslim Brotherhood chief urges Libya dialogue

Libya's Muslim Brotherhood General Supervisor Bashir al-Kabti has called for dialogue to resolve the current crisis in the North African country.

"We believe that all parties should sit down to the table and engage in talks," al-Kabti told Anadolu Agency in an exclusive dialogue by phone on Tuesday.

Fears have grown that Libya is descending into a civil war after renegade army general Khalifa Haftar took up arms against militia groups that now serve as part of Libya's regular army.

Dubbing his campaign "Operation Dignity," Haftar told the London-based Al-Sharq al-Awsat daily that his operation aimed to "purge" Libya of "extremists and the Muslim Brotherhood".

But al-Kabti described the statements as "an attempt to win support from regional and foreign parties".

"We are part of the Libyan people," the Muslim Brotherhood leader said.

"Haftar is talking about a group that has been the victim of violence and terrorism," he said.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 21 Mayıs 2014, 10:06