News / Middle East

Libyan Islamists Urge PM to Resign Over Corruption, Security

Libya's Prime Minister Ali Zeidan speaks during a joint news conference with Oil Minister Abdelbari al-Arusi at the Prime Minister's Office in Tripoli, July 2013.
Libya's Prime Minister Ali Zeidan speaks during a joint news conference with Oil Minister Abdelbari al-Arusi at the Prime Minister's Office in Tripoli, July 2013.
Reuters
The political arm of Libya's Muslim Brotherhood called on Prime Minister Ali Zeidan to resign, accusing him of failing to tackle corruption or build a united national army in a country driven by tribal rivalries.

Mohammad Sawan, who heads the Islamist Justice and Construction party [JCP], second biggest in Libya's legislature, said the party was also considering withdrawing its five ministers in Zeidan's cabinet, including the oil minister.

Zeidan, a liberal who was elected last October, has experienced growing pressure from Islamists and independents displeased with his handling of an unprecedented wave of strikes by oil workers and armed guards that have paralyzed the country's oil production and led to billions of dollars of lost revenues.

Sawan said there was growing support within the 200-member assembly for a vote of no confidence in Zeidan's government.

“We have waited months for Zeidan's government,” Sawan told Reuters in an interview. “Had we believed there was a chance for success of even 10 percent, we would... [wait]. The problem is that for Zeidan to stay in power will only worsen this failure.”

Political and security problems have been worsened by serious electricity and water shortages that have increased daily hardship for many Libyans who feel little has changed since the 2011 war that toppled Moammer Gadhafi.

Zeidan was a favorite of the Islamists' liberal rivals, but the JCP had reluctantly agreed at the time to join his cabinet in a concession to popular demands for a broad-based consensus government to halt the country's descent to chaos Sawan said.

No police on the streets

Sawan accused Zeidan of squandering state budget funds and failing to fight rampant corruption, saying that more than 500,000 Libyans enlisted nominally in various competing army, police and security units were on the state payroll but with a simple policeman not even able to fine a drivers on the streets.

“It's been over eight months and there is no army in existence in Libya. There have been no serious steps taken toward building the army and activating security forces at a time when salaries are paid for hundreds of thousands of police and army,” he said.

“People have not seen anything, no security, nothing, [not even] ... a policeman who is just ready to counsel bad drivers, let alone fine them,” he added.

Armed groups made up of former rebel fighters from different parts of the country have grown in power and ambition nearly two years after Gadhafi was ousted. They hold many government institutions hostage to their demands and the government has struggled to impose its authority over them.

Tensions between Zeidan and the Islamists have come to a head since a visit last week by Zeidan to Egypt, which angered the JCP, with members accusing him of endorsing the Egyptian military's crackdown against former President Mohammad Morsi.

JCP's secular and liberal rivals say the Islamists, whose main strongholds are in coastal cities such as Misrata, have grown in influence in a parliament that was assuming more executive powers and held senior posts in state institutions.

The killing of a secular liberal critic of the Islamists last July drove crowds of angry Libyans to ransack and burn the JCP headquarters in the capital and Benghazi, accusing them of being behind the killings.

You May Like

UN Ambassador Power Highlights Plight of Women Prisoners

She launches the 'Free the 20' campaign, aimed at profiling women being deprived of their freedom around the world More

Satellite Launch Sparks Spectacular Light Show

A slight delay in a satellite launch lit up the Florida sky early this morning More

Fleeing IS Killings in Syria, Family Reaches Bavaria

Exhausted, scared and under-nourished, Khalil and Maha's tale mirrors those of thousands of refugees from war-torn countries who have left their homes in the hopes of finding a better life More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs