New interim PM and July elections
Libya’s General National Congress (GNC) voted by 124 votes to oust Prime Minister Ali Zeidan, although some members are disputing the validity of the vote. The GNC also voted for Minister of Defence, Abdullah Al-Thinni, to take over as caretaker Prime Minister until a replacement is found within the next two weeks.
The motion of no confidence is one of a series which have been aimed specifically at the prime minister. The latest confidence motion arose because of his inability to stop rebels who have controlled the eastern oilfields since July last year from exporting oil from under the noses of the government. The latest crisis started when a North Korean flagged tanker, ‘The Morning Glory’ docked in Sidra on Saturday and took on 234,000 barrels of crude oil. Although the government said that it would not let the tanker leave and as late as Monday said that the tanker had been boarded, the ship appears to have left Libyan waters.
The GNC also voted for fresh elections for a new parliament to take place in July as recommended by the so called ‘February Committee’ which comprises 15 members, six from the GNC and nine independent members. The February Committee was established on 11th February to draft an amendment to the 2011 Constitutional Declaration to set up procedures for a June or July election if it was clear that the Constitutional Committee could not come up with an agreed new constitution by July.
The February Committee has recommended a Council of Representatives to be elected through a ‘direct secret public ballot’ for a term of 18 months with its base in Benghazi. The committee has also recommended that presidential and legislative elections be held separately and through direct elections; the GNC has put on hold any decision about direct or indirect elections for the president.