News / Middle East

Libyan Islamist Party's Ministers Quit

FILE - Libya's Prime Minister Ali Zeidan
FILE - Libya's Prime Minister Ali Zeidan
Reuters
Libya's Islamist Justice and Construction Party on Tuesday pulled its five ministers, including the oil minister, out of Prime Minister Ali Zeidan's government, complicating efforts to stabilize the OPEC country.
 
Two years after Moammer Gadhafi's fall, the oil-producing North African state has struggled to overcome political turmoil and heavily-armed ex-rebels who fought in the 2011 revolt against the autocrat but now refuse to disarm.
 
At least two people were killed in clashes on Tuesday west of Tripoli when soldiers and militia allies attacked an area where they said gunmen still loyal to Gadhafi were holed up, a Reuters witness and officials said.
 
Resignations by JCP, which had repeatedly failed to secure a vote of no-confidence against Zeidan, will deepen deadlock in the General National Congress (GNC) parliament, which has made little progress in Libya's transition to democracy.
 
“Zeidan failed in his duty to provide security, and to deliver in the electricity and oil sectors,” Nizar Kawan, a leading JCP member, said in a statement.
 
“We had asked for a withdrawal of confidence, but some don't understand the danger of the stage we are at now.”
 
Oil Minister Abdelbari Arusi was among those the JCP said was resigning.
 
Cabinet reshuffle
 
Zeidan, a Liberal not linked to any major political bloc, had announced earlier this month that he planned to replace some ministers in a cabinet reshuffle meant to stave off criticism of his government's performance.
 
He has survived several attempts in the GNC to drum up support for a no-confidence vote.
 
The GNC is caught in a stalemate between the JCP, the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood, and the leading parliamentary party, National Forces Alliance, a more nationalist coalition.
 
Since the GNC was elected more than a year ago, infighting has delayed legislation, and Libya still has no constitution. Elections are expected next month to choose a 60-member committee to draft the new constitution.
 
Tuesday's clashes broke out after soldiers backed by militia fighters loosely aligned with the government stormed the Warshafena area on the western outskirts of Tripoli to capture gunmen they accused of belonging to pro-Gadhafi forces.
 
At least two people were killed when troops and militiamen fired anti-aircraft guns and rockets into the area where they had said tribal fighters resisted with small rockets, a Reuters witness and hospital officials said.
 
The fighting was the heaviest since rival former rebels and militiamen withdrew from their bases in the Libyan capital late last year when street clashes killed dozens of protesters demanding militias pull out of the city.
 
Controlling former fighters and tribal demands is a major challenge for the central government. One former rebel commander has seized eastern oil ports with his armed militia, holding them since August and choking off oil shipments, to demand more regional autonomy.
 
Zeidan's government managed to restart production in the south and west, bringing oil output up to 600,000 barrels per day.

You May Like

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threati
X
Greg Flakus
May 29, 2015 11:24 PM
Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threat

Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video New York's One World Trade Center Observatory Opens to Public

From New Jersey to Long Island, from Northern suburbs to the Atlantic Ocean, with all of New York City in-between.  That view became available to the public Friday as the One World Trade Center Observatory opened in New York -- atop the replacement for the buildings destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attacks.  VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs