Libya’s Eastern-Based Government Resigns

Libya’s Eastern-based government resigned on Sunday, the Tobruk-based parliament says.

This resignation comes amidst rising protests in a number of cities over deteriorating living conditions and corruption

In a statement on its website, the parliament said the Abdullah al-Thani, the head of the government, submitted its resignation to the speaker of the Tobruk-based House of Representatives, Aguila Saleh, during an urgent meeting in which they discussed the protesters’ demands.

Libya’s Eastern-based government is not recognized internationally.

Spokesman for the parliament, Abdallah Abaihig, said lawmakers would review it in their next meeting but no date has been set for the session.

Hundreds of young Libyans took to the streets of Benghazi and other Eastern cities in the past couple of days to protest the area’s crippling electricity shortages.

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The protesters set tires ablaze and blocked traffic on several major roads. On Saturday, protesters attempted to storm a security headquarter in the Eastern town of Marj.

Several reports claimed Gen. Khalifa Haftar’s militias opened fire on demonstrators, leaving at least one person dead and about five injured in Benghazi, Bayda and Marj.

The United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) called for “a thorough and immediate” investigation into “the reported excessive use of force against peaceful demonstrations” and the speedy release of a number of detained protesters.

It also said at least one civilian was reportedly killed and three others were wounded.

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The legitimate Government of National Accord (GNA) in Libya was founded in 2015 under a UN-led agreement, but efforts for a long-term political settlement failed due to a military offensive by forces loyal to Haftar.

The United Nations recognizes the government headed by Prime Minister Fayez Sarraj as the country’s legitimate authority. Sarraj’s Tripoli-based government has battled Haftar’s militias since April 2019 in a conflict that has claimed thousands of lives.

Fighting has died down in recent weeks amid intensive international efforts, including from the United States, to establish a lasting cease-fire and avert a battle over the strategic city of Sirte, the gateway for vital oil facilities.

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