Libya’s speaker confirms new prime minister

May 06, 2014 - 4:56:06 am

TRIPOLI: Libya yesterday confirmed the appointment of a new premier after a chaotic vote highlighting tensions between Islamists and liberals in a country sapped by violence nearly three years after the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi.

The General National Congress, the interim parliament, ratified Ahmed Miitig, an Islamist-backed businessman, as prime minister in a decision signed by its speaker.

However, it is still unclear if the decision by Nuri Abu Sahmein — whose own position is disputed —will end a legal and political row over Miitig’s election, which has been rejected by several lawmakers and Abu Sahmein’s own deputy.

The GNC said it had ratified the 42-year-old’s appointment in a move that would make him Libya’s youngest and fifth premier since long-time autocrat Kadhafi was toppled and killed in a 2011 uprising.

“Ahmed Omar Miitig was appointed head of the transitional government, and asked to form his cabinet and present it to the GNC for a confidence vote within 15 days,” said the text of a decision signed by Abu Sahmein.

However, the appointment has been rejected by several MPs and the deputy speaker, Ezzedine Al Awami. One lawmaker, Tahar Al Mokni, indicated there were still doubts about the appointment.

Mokni said the speaker had indeed signed the decision, but that he had not attended Sunday night’s GNC session when the vote was held.

Abu Sahmein has not been seen in public for weeks, with some MPs demanding his resignation over suspected involvement in a “moral” scandal. The GNC indicated that Abu Sahmein was abroad for unspecified treatment.

The spokesman for the outgoing government, Ahmed Lamine, was unable to comment on Miitig’s appointment.