Libya’s East Rejects Unity Government in No-Confidence Vote

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Lawmakers in Libya’s eastern assembly passed a vote of no-confidence in the United Nations-backed unity government, as deep rifts continue to hinder efforts to restore stability in the North African oil producer.

Meeting in the eastern city of Tobruk on Monday, 61 members of the House of Representatives voted to reject the Government of National Accord, which is based in Tripoli in the west, according to a statement on its website. A total of 101 deputies attended and there were 39 abstentions.

The session was chaired by speaker Agilah Saleh, a close ally of military commander Khalifa Haftar. The two men have refused to support Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj, whose administration is seeking to unify Libya following years of chaos since the removal and killing of Muammar Qaddafi in 2011.

It was unclear what the consequences of Monday’s vote would be or whether the nine members of the Presidential Council -- the GNA’s leadership committee -- would agree to eastern demands for a new cabinet lineup. The council is itself fractured, with two members loyal to the HoR boycotting sessions.

“It remains to be seen whether the outcome of this vote will be discussed peacefully” or “will spark yet another institutional crisis,” said Mattia Toaldo, senior policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations in London.

It was the second time the eastern assembly rejected the cabinet through a ballot since the UN-backed peace deal was announced in December. The first time was in January, but that vote was overshadowed by an argument over whether a quorum had been reached.

The Presidential Council sent an open letter to the HoR on Sunday, signed by Serraj, requesting it not to hold a vote until he had completed his list of ministers. Four ministers were fired in recent weeks after failing to show up to meetings.

“We are in the process of naming new ministers within the next few days; therefore, the cabinet is not final,” the council said in the letter. There was no immediate official reaction to Monday’s ballot from Serraj’s office or the council.

(Adds official count from vote.)
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