It's unclear whether Libya actually has a new Prime Minister after all

Story highlights

  • Confusion and uncertainty over the vote for interim prime minister in Libya
  • Businessman Ahmed Mitig was sworn-in Sunday as interim PM
  • Highest-ranking Libyan parliament official says Mitig vote was invalid
  • Libya's parliament expected to clarify results when it reconvenes Monday

Confusion and uncertainty swirled in Libya over the results of a vote on Sunday by the interim parliament on a new interim prime minister as disagreements over the legality of the outcome have been raised.

Initial reports indicated the country's General National Congress elected businessman Ahmad Mitig as interim prime minister Sunday.

Mitig was sworn in after reportedly receiving 121 votes in a volatile debate in the GNC that included multiple votes.

After Mitig was sworn in, the GNC gave him two weeks to form a government.

"We hope it is less than two weeks. As you know, we rushed because the country can not bear this. We need a government to grant a budget in the coming days. ... We wish him luck," said a deputy parliament speaker who was chairing Sunday's session.

Then later Sunday, the First Deputy Speaker of Libya's interim parliament, Ezzedin al-Awami, announced that the vote naming Mitig as interim PM was invalid.

The parliament first failed to elect the new Prime Minister after a confidence vote fell short of the 120 votes needed.

It took two rounds of voting before Mitig emerged as the frontrunner for the post, but in another confidence vote, he received only 113 votes.

Speaker al-Awami said in a letter posted to the Libyan interim government's Twitter account that the session was actually adjourned at this point, after Mitig failed the confidence vote and did not get the required 120 votes.

"... continuing the process, increasing the votes and announcing that the candidate won the vote of confidence to form a Cabinet, is an invalid procedure and illegal," he said in the letter.

Al-Awami is the acting speaker and highest-ranking elected official in Libya.

The government also posted a second letter by al-Awami. This one was addressed to the caretaker prime minister, Abdullah al-Thinni.

Al-Thinni, the country's former defense minister, was chosen by parliament to temporarily take over for acting Prime Minister Ali Zeidan, who was voted out by parliament in March.

Last month, al-Thinni was selected as the new Prime Minister, but he later stepped down after he and his family were attacked. He then agreed to continue as a caretaker until a new prime minister is chosen.

In the letter, al-Awami asked al-Thinni to continue as caretaker Prime Minister until a new vote is held.

Meanwhile, other parliament members insisted the vote on Mitig was legal and that he was rightfully elected interim Prime Minister.

Until parliament reconvenes on Monday, it is not yet clear who the Libyan Prime Minister is.

Political and security challenges are adding to the turmoil in the fledgling democracy.

Libya's government has been unable to impose its authority over a myriad of militia groups that have grown in power and influence since the 2011 revolution that toppled longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

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