Libyan parliament does not recognise new PM: Official

Libyan parliament does not recognise new PM: Official
Reporters watch a live feed of Libyan members of parliament meeting to decide between two candidates for the post of prime minister at the parliament in the capital, Tripoli, on May 4, 2014.

TRIPOLI - The election of Libya's new prime minister Ahmed Miitig was in doubt on Monday after a senior parliament official said that the assembly does not recognise the country's new leader.

Ezzedin Al-Awami, the first vice-president of the parliament, said that in the confusion of a vote taken by parliament Sunday, Miitig failed to get the number of votes required.

A statement posted on the government website said the Islamist-backed businessman received 113 votes but needed 120 to be declared the country's new prime minister in accordance with the constitution.

In a second statement published on the website, Awami says the vote of confidence is "void and illegal." It followed an earlier chaotic session of the General National Congress (GNC).

After the initial vote count, GNC official Salah al-Makhzoum said Miitig had in fact clinched 121 votes in the 185-seat interim parliament, apparently after a recount, and beat challenger Omar al-Hassi, a university professor.

Some deputies denounced the recount, which they said took place after the session had officially closed.

"What is happening is illegal," said GNC spokesman Omar Hmidan.

The voting had been broadcast live on state television up until Awami closed the session, saying a new one would convene.

Miitig, 42, would be - if the vote is confirmed - Libya's youngest and fifth prime minister since veteran dictator Muammar Gaddafi was toppled and killed in a 2011 uprising.

Since then, successive governments in the oil-rich North African country have struggled to impose order as heavily armed former rebel brigades have carved out their own fiefdoms and refused to join the security forces.

The job of prime minister has proven challenging and dangerous - Ali Zeidan, who was voted out by parliament for failing to prevent a rebel oil shipment in March, was kidnapped by gunmen last year and held for several hours before being released.

Last month, Zeidan's defence minister Abdullah al-Thani was appointed to replace him, but stepped down after just five days, saying he and his family had come under attack.

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