Libyan lawmakers dismiss prime minister

Abushagur urges officials to name successor soon

TRIPOLI, Libya — Libya’s Parliament ousted the country’s new prime minister in a no-confidence vote Sunday, the latest blow to hopes that political factions could agree on a government charged with restoring stability after last year’s civil war.

Mustafa Abushagur was Libya’s first elected prime minister after last year’s overthrow of dictator Moammar Khadafy that ended eight months of civil war.

But his proposed Cabinet was struck down by a legislature representing dozens of divided tribes, towns, and regions across the country, many of whom feel they are owed the spoils of victory over Khadafy. He was forced to withdraw his first ministerial lineup under pressure and his second attempt to submit one resulted in his ouster.


In a short statement on Libya al-Wataniya TV after the vote, Abushagur said he respected the decision made by the General National Congress as part of Libya’s democracy but warned of instability if it takes too long to elect his replacement.

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“There should be quickness in the election of the prime minister and formation of the government so the country does not slip into a vacuum,” he said.

He had 25 days from his appointment to form a Cabinet approved by Parliament, but that deadline expired Sunday as legislators moved to unseat him. The General National Congress voted 125-to-44 in favor of removing him as prime minister, with 19 abstaining.

Until a replacement can be nominated, management of Libya’s government is in the hands of the Legislature.

Abushagur represented an offshoot of the country’s oldest anti-Khadafy opposition movement, and was considered a compromise candidate acceptable to liberals and Islamists.


But he failed to produce a list of ministers that could win the approval of enough legislators. After 40 years of Khadafy’s divide-and-rule tactics and the 2011 war, Libya’s towns, tribes, and regions are highly polarized. Many feel entitled to high government positions because of their losses in the war against Khadafy, and are wary of any power wielded by their rivals.

Before the vote of no-confidence, Abushagur said he was aiming to create a government of national unity that did not appoint ministers according to ‘‘quotas.’’

He had submitted 10 names for key posts for Parliament’s approval. But Congress instead voted to remove him.

Independent lawmaker Nizar Kawan, who is aligned with the Muslim Brotherhood in Libya, said the group’s party and a secular coalition led by former rebel prime minister Mahmoud Jibril were holding talks about replacing Abushagur with an independent to form a government that is run by well-known professionals and is politically balanced and geographically representative.

Abushagur had taught engineering at the University of Alabama for about 17 years before leaving in 2002.