Gunmen Storm Libyan Parliament during vote for Prime MinisterMay 1, 2014 in Uncategorized
30 April- Unidentified gunmen stormed the Libyan parliament on Tuesday during an evening session held to elect a new prime minister. The gunmen fired shots, and “forced MPs to abandon the session to select a new prime minister,” according to parliament spokesman Omar Humeidan.
Early reports indicated that a number of people had been injured in the attack, however those reports remain unconfirmed. The attackers are suspected to be supporters of Mohamed Boukar, one of seven candidates chosen for the prime-ministerial ballot, but who was among the losing candidates in the first round of voting on Tuesday morning.
The election is being held to find a replacement for former Prime Minister Abdallah Al-Thani, who resigned two weeks ago after less than a month in office following an attack on his family. His predecessor, Ali Zeidan received a vote of no-confidence in March.
During the first vote on Tuesday morning, businessman Ahmed Maitiq led the seven candidates, winning 67 votes. The evening vote put Maitiq against Omar Al-Hasi, the second place candidate who won 34 votes. Speaker Humeidan said that it would be “difficult for any candidate to win the support of 120 members of parliament, the quorum specified by the parliament’s internal regulations that were recently amended.” If the parliament fails to reach an agreement, the members will ask Thani to continue his role as prime minister until a new parliament is elected in four months.
Since the overthrow of Muammar Gadhafi in 2011, the Libyan government has been unable to control the heavily armed militias who were instrumental in his removal. Militias seeking their own aims in the relatively lawless nation have refused to lay down their weapons. The parliament building and members of the government have been targeted numerous times. Government officials, including foreign envoys, have been kidnapped or attacked, and the national congress building has been stormed dozens of times over the past 18 months.
The second round of voting has been postponed, and will take place on 4 May.