Africa

Rebels welcome ruling on Libya PM's unconstitutional election

Ulf Laessing

Prime Minister Ahmed Maiteeq has been deemed unconstitutional by Libya's Supreme Court, and the country's rebels have approved of the decision.

Prime Minister Ahmed Maiteeq. (Reuters)

A group of rebels occupying several oil ports in east Libya have welcomed a Supreme Court ruling declaring the election of Prime Minister Ahmed Maiteeq unconstitutional, according to a statement published on Monday.

The rebels refused to deal with Maiteeq and the government is locked in a standoff with them over the reopening of ports.

Libya has lost $30-billion due to 10 months of protests at oilfields and export terminals, the central bank said last week.

The court’s decision means his predecessor will stay on for now, a Parliament speaker said.

‘Maiteeq’s election was unconstitutional
The Opec producer’s government and Parliament are struggling to impose authority on a country awash with arms and militias who ousted former leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 but now defy state authority.

Maiteeq’s appointment as head of Libya’s interim government had followed a chaotic vote in Parliament, which is divided between Islamists and more moderate forces, as well as along tribal and regional lines, and some lawmakers and judicial experts disputed the outcome.

Outgoing Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni, a career army officer who resigned in April, refused to hand over power to Maiteeq after some lawmakers questioned the validity of the vote and said he would wait for a court decision.

“The ruling stated ... the appointment of Mr Ahmed Maiteeq as premier of the interim government was unconstitutional,” television reported.

There was no immediate reaction from Maiteeq, who was elected by independent and Muslim Brotherhood Islamists, but Parliament’s second deputy speaker Salah Makhzoum told reporters lawmakers would respect the ruling.

“From this moment ... Abdullah Al-Thinni is the caretaker prime minister until Congress [Parliament] learns the court’s reasons for deciding that Maiteeq’s election was unconstitutional,” he said.

Parliament will discuss the matter further on Tuesday. – Reuters

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