Libya’s Dueling PMs Add to Uncertainty Over Parliament’s Future

Already Facing Coup, Parliament's Internal Split Grows

A week and a half into the ongoing coup attempt by Gen. Khalifa Hifter, Libya’s parliament seems to be facing growing internal problems as well, with two different claimants to the position of premier raising doubts about the parliament’s ability to resist the Hifter takeover.

Elected by parliament two weeks ago, Ahmed Maiteeq’s premiership is seemingly on hold indefinitely now, as his predecessor, interim PM Abdullah Thinni, refuses to hand over the office and now says he won’t do so without an order from a Libyan high court.

Thinni was named interim PM is March after the ouster of Ali Zeidan, but refused the position on a permanent basis, claiming threats to his family. After many weeks of infighting, parliament settled on Maiteeq.

Yesterday, Thinni suggested he wasn’t sure the election of Maiteeq was legal, but today he questioned the legality of parliament in general, faulting the body’s effectiveness.

Maiteeq is supported by the Muslim Brotherhood’s Justice and Construction Party, while Thinni, a former Defense Minister, commands the loyalty of the Interior Ministry and some secular MPs.

The risk of a divided parliament in this case is not just lack of clarity on the June election, but that as the militias organize to resist Hifter’s coup, some are lining up to fight the Interior Ministry, one of the few government ministries parliament still has on its side, in this secondary fight.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.