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Libyan Parliament Rejects UN-backed Unity Government

  • VOA News

Mohammed Chouaib, head of delegation from the U.N.-recognized government in the eastern city of Tobruk, Libya, left, and Dr. Saleh Almkhozom, Second Deputy Chairman of the Libyan General National Congress, react after signing a U.N.-sponsored deal aiming to end Libya's conflict, Dec.17, 2015, in Sikhrat, Morocco.

Mohammed Chouaib, head of delegation from the U.N.-recognized government in the eastern city of Tobruk, Libya, left, and Dr. Saleh Almkhozom, Second Deputy Chairman of the Libyan General National Congress, react after signing a U.N.-sponsored deal aiming to end Libya's conflict, Dec.17, 2015, in Sikhrat, Morocco.

Libya's internationally recognized government on Monday rejected the U.N.-assembled unity government with rival Islamists.

Eight-nine of the 104 lawmakers who took part in Monday's parliamentary session in Tobruk voted to reject the U.N. peace plan, demanding a new proposal within 10 days.

At least one member of parliament said the Cabinet is too large, but lawmakers would consider a smaller body.

They also objected to an article allowing the unity government to fire top military leaders. They said they fear this could lead to the dismissal of military chief Khalifa Hifter, who has made no secret of his contempt for Islamists.

The U.N.-mediated peace deal, signed last month, called for a new unity government with members from both the internationally-recognized government in Tobruk and the Islamist-backed body in Tripoli.

The pact came out of multiple rounds of negotiations between the rival governments.

U.N. officials who negotiated the unity government say they will continue consultations with both sides and "let the process play out."

The United States and others are worried that the political limbo will leave room for the Islamic State and other extremist groups to become an even greater threat.

Libya has been in chaos since longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi was toppled and killed in 2011.

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