Libya minister resigns over ‘unfair’ vote

A newly appointed minister in Libya’s new east-based government has resigned, alleging that the the voting in of the cabinet was unfair and failed to include all Libyan factions.

In a video posted on social media, Gamal Salem Shaaban, who had been appointed economy and trade minister, said there was no honour in joining the new cabinet and that it will lead to conflict.

His resignation came on the heels of a United Nations statement voicing concerns over reports that the voting on the new government was flawed.

There are also fears the appointment earlier this week of the new cabinet will lead to parallel administrations and fuel tensions in a country mired in conflict for the past decade.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister-designate Fathi Bashagha submitted his cabinet list to the east-based House of Representatives and 92 out of of 101 lawmakers in attendance in the eastern city Tobruk backed it.

“That session lacked transparency and integrity and did not meet procedural standards,” Shaaban said.

“There is no honour in being part of a cabinet that will bring about war and destruction.”

Bashagha’s own appointment last month deepened divisions among Libyan factions and raised fears that fighting could return after more than a year and a half of relative calm.

Libya’s embattled Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah – who like Bashagha hails from Misrata – has remained defiant against replacing his government.

Bashagha’s cabinet was sworn-in later on Thursday although not all ministers attended.

After taking the oath, he told parliament that armed groups had abducted the newly appointed ministers for foreign affairs, culture and technical education – and shot at others who were on their way to the ceremony.

The reports could not be independently verified.

The house condemned the alleged abductions and held Dbeibah’s government responsible for the safety of all new ministers.

Bashagha’s cabinet includes three deputy prime ministers, 29 ministers and six ministers of state.

“Some are trying to drag us into war and infighting but we will not give them such a chance. We will not spill a single drop of blood,” Bashagha said.

“We will study all options so that we can take over power in Tripoli by force of the law and not by force.”

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