Middle East

Libya congress to elect new prime minister

The 200-member General National Congress set to undertake the final vote for a new prime minister on Sunday.

Last updated: 04 May 2014 00:08
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The second round of voting was postponed twice after the GNC building was attacked by fighters [Reuters]

Libya's national congress is set to undertake the final vote for a new prime minister on Sunday, after clashes hit the country's parliament building in Tripoli during two previous rounds of voting.

The 200-member General National Congress (GNC) will elect the new leader on Sunday. The country is currently run by an interim government led by acting Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni after the sacking of former Prime Minister Ali Zeidan last March.

The elections were called after Thinni refused to continue in office. He offered to resign on April 13, saying he and his family came under a savage attack the night before in their residence and he could no longer put innocent people's lives at risk.

The first round of voting last week included 9 candidates. The two with the highest votes are businessman Ahmed El Metig, a Harvard graduate, and Omar Al Hassy, a lawyer and university professor. They will go head to head in a second round.

"We are living in chaos. I don't care who wins, he must rebuild the army and police. There is no way we can develop the country without first creating stability in the streets," said Hamid Ben Ashour, Tripoli resident.

The second round of voting was postponed twice after the GNC building was attacked by fighters during each vote.

Several security guards were injured and some members of the GNC accused supporters of Hassy for the attacks but he has denied this.

"We don't want the country to be rebuilt using weapons. This is not my way. My career says it all. I am a lawyer and a university teacher, I preach peaceful coexistence and democracy. I have nothing to do with these incidents," he said.

Electoral law requires the candidate garner at least 120 out of the 200 votes. Analysts said it is hard to achieve such a consensus.

"The constitutional declarations assist that majority with 50 votes plus one, that constitutional point. But this is an agreement between the members of the GNC that would be very hard. They have no choice in front of the members of the GNC. There's no way just to accept the constitutional declaration," said Mohamed Balkheir, a political researcher.

If the GNC fail to elect an outright winner, the interim government will be given more power and asked to continue permanently.


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