Removed ... Mustafa Abushagur. Photo: Reuters
TRIPOLI: Libya's Parliament has passed a no-confidence vote in the new Prime Minister, removing him from his post in the latest blow to stability in the war-ravaged country.
Mustafa Abushagur was Libya's first elected Prime Minister after last year's overthrow of the dictator Muammar Gaddafi that ended eight months of civil war.
He had 25 days from his appointment to form a cabinet approved by Parliament, but that deadline expired on Sunday as legislators moved to unseat him.
The General National Congress voted 125 to 44 in favour of removing him as prime minister, with 19 abstaining.
Until a replacement can be nominated, management of Libya's government is in the hands of the legislature.
Mr Abushagur represented an offshoot of the country's oldest anti-Gaddafi opposition movement and was considered a compromise candidate acceptable to both liberals and Islamists.
But he failed to produce a list of ministers that could win the approval of enough MPs.
After 40 years of Gaddafi's divide-and-rule tactics and the 2011 war, Libya's towns, tribes and regions are highly polarised. Many feel entitled to high government positions because of their losses in the war against Gaddafi and are wary of any power wielded by their rivals.
In an indication of the charged atmosphere, Mr Abushagur withdrew his line-up for government after the parliamentary chamber was stormed on Thursday by protesters from Zawiya - one of several cities that took the brunt of Gaddafi's attacks during the war - demanding representation. MPs left the General National Congress floor, saying they would not vote under pressure.
Before the no-confidence vote, Mr Abushagur said he was aiming to create a government of national unity that did not appoint ministers according to quotas. ''The government I proposed is not perfect and was marred by some mistakes, so I changed it for the purpose of national unity.''
He had submitted 10 names for key posts for approval, saying the remaining 19 posts would be managed by his proposed deputy prime minister. But Congress instead voted to remove him.
''The collapse of the Libyan government should have surprised nobody,'' said Aaron David Miller, of the Woodrow Wilson International Centre for Scholars. ''Anybody who believed that Libya was going to be the poster child for easy transitions and good governance wasn't focused on the tribal and regional divisions that will impede stability.''
Libya had no experience of self-rule because of Gaddafi's ''bizarre one-man cult rule'', Mr Miller said. ''The country has too many guns and grievances, militias and malcontents for that.''
The independent MP, Nizar Kawan, who is aligned with the Muslim Brotherhood, said the group's party and a secular coalition led by the former prime minister Mahmoud Jibril were holding talks about replacing Mr Abushagur with an independent.
The Congress will have to vote on a new prime minister in the coming weeks.
Associated Press, Bloomberg