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Libya’s PM Announces Resignation

Michael Johnson

The leader of Libya’s internationally recognized government announced he would step down on Tuesday night following criticism that he is unable to provide security and basic services. Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni also faces prolonged political infighting amid Libya’s a civil war.

Prime Minister al-Thinni became visibly irritated during an interview on a private TV station after questions regarding his supposed lack of leadership. In response he said would present his resignation to the House of Representatives. But, a spokesman for his cabinet backtracked explaining that al-Thinni would only step down “if the street demands it.” While the Prime Minister has been in office since March 2014, he has promised to resign before — in April of that year.

A file photo of Libyan Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni. (Photo: Reuters)

Thani’s government has lead eastern Libya from the small port city of Tobruk near the Egyptian border since Islamist militias took control of Tripoli following elections last year. Important infrastructure and ministerial buildings remain under control of Libyan Dawn and other rebel groups that fight pro-government forces as far east as Benghazi. Even though the international community recognizes Tobruk government as the official representative of the Libyan people, the reach of leaders there is limited. Cabinet ministers work out of hotel rooms, while officials have been unable to restore oil production revenue or provide reliable electricity.

One political solution to resolve the Libya’s lawlessness and infighting remains peace talks, which restarted in Geneva on Tuesday. Representatives from the Islamist-backed General National Congress met with Thani’s government under the mediation of United Nations special envoy Bernardino Leon. In an ambitious plan drafted by Leon, the two parties hope to form a unity government by September. But, even if a political agreement can be reached, there still remains a “disconnect between the negotiators and those fighting,” according to one regional analysis.