Islamist ministers quit Libyan government

The JCP, the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood, says PM Ali Zeidan has failed to boost security and economy.

Last updated: 21 Jan 2014 18:47
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The JCP has repeatedly failed to secure a no-confidence vote against Libyan PM Ali Zeidan [EPA]

An Islamist party in Libya has withdrawn its five ministers from the government of Prime Minister Ali Zeidan, saying he has failed to provide security and improve the economy.

The resignations on Tuesday were announced by the Justice and Construction Party (JCP), the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood.

They will deepen the deadlock in the parliament, known as the General National Congress (GNC), which has made little progress in Libya's transition to democracy since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi.

"Zeidan failed in his duty to provide security, and to deliver in the electricity and oil sectors," Nizar Kawan, a leading JCP member, said in a statement. 

"We had asked for a withdrawal of confidence, but some don't understand the danger of the stage we are at now." 

Abdelbari Arusi, the oil minister, was among those the JCP said was resigning.

Zeidan, who is not linked to any major political bloc, had announced earlier this month that he planned to replace some
ministers in a cabinet reshuffle meant to stave off criticism of his government's performance.

He has survived several attempts in the GNC to drum up support for a no-confidence vote. The JCP had repeatedly failed to secure a vote of no-confidence against Zeidan.

The GNC is caught in a stalemate between the JCP and the leading parliamentary party, the National Forces Alliance, a more nationalist coalition.

Since the GNC was elected more than a year ago, infighting has delayed legislation, and Libya still has no constitution. Elections are expected next month to choose a 60-member committee to draft the new constitution.

Turmoil and violence

Two years on from the fall of Gadaffi, Libya is embroiled in political turmoil and weak security, as militias continue to control important areas of the country and refuse to disarm.

Soldiers backed by militia on Tuesday stormed the Warshafena area on the western outskirts of Tripoli to capture gunmen they accused of belonging to pro-Gaddafi forces. 

At least two people were killed when troops and militiamen fired anti-aircraft guns and rockets into the area where they had said tribal fighters resisted with small rockets, a Reuters witness and hospital officials said. 

Controlling former fighters and tribal demands is a major challenge for the central government.

One former rebel commander has seized eastern oil ports with his forces, holding them since August and choking off oil shipments, to demand more regional autonomy. 

Zeidan's government managed to restart production in the south and west, bringing oil output up to 600,000 barrels per


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