Libyan parliament rejects UN-backed unity government

Damages are seen due to clashes between the Libyan military and Islamic militias in Benghazi, Libya, Oct. 29, 2014. (AP/Mohammed El-Sheikhy)Damages are seen due to clashes between the Libyan military and Islamic militias in Benghazi, Libya, Oct. 29, 2014. (AP/Mohammed El-Sheikhy)

Libya’s internationally recognized parliament on Monday rejected a UN-sponsored unity government and political agreement with rival authorities based in the capital, Tripoli, the media office said.

House of Representatives member Essa al-Areibi says 90 out of 140 members who attended Monday’s session rejected the unity Cabinet and 84 rejected the political agreement. Both were the result of months of negotiations, and were backed by some members of each faction.

The international community has been pushing the rivals to unite against the rising threat of Islamic militants, including an increasingly powerful Islamic State affiliate that has seized the central city of Sirte and launched attacks across the country.

Libya has fallen into chaos since the 2011 toppling and killing of longtime dictator, Moammar Qadhafi.

Since 2014, an internationally recognized government has convened in the far east of the vast, oil-rich country. An Islamist-dominated parliament backed by various militias sits in the capital, Tripoli.

The political agreement was rejected due to article 8, which stipulates that Gen. Khalifa Hifter be dismissed from his post as military chief, to which he was appointed by the internationally-recognized government.

Hifter, who served a stint as army chief under Qadhafi before he defected to the opposition, rose to new prominence after declaring a coup against the Tripoli-based government in 2014 and launching “Operation Dignity,” a military campaign against Islamic militants in Benghazi and elsewhere in the east. He describes all Islamists as terrorists, including the Muslim Brotherhood group, which is represented in Tripoli’s government.

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