BEIRUT

Middle East

Election of Maiteeq as new Libyan PM violates law: prosecutor

This image made from AP video shot on Wednesday, June 4, 2014 shows an ambulance carrying the body of a staff member of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), who was killed by armed men near the city of Sirte, which is around 550 kilometers (340 miles) east of Tripoli, Libya. (AP Photo via AP video)

TRIPOLI: The election of Ahmad Maiteeq as Libya’s new prime minister was conducted in violation of the country’s temporary constitution, a prosecutor told the Supreme Constitutional Court Thursday.

The North African country is struggling with a political crisis as outgoing premier Abdullah al-Thani has refused to hand over power to Maiteeq who was elected by parliament in a chaotic vote last month. Amid disarray in Tripoli there is conflict between rival groups across the country.

Maiteeq’s lawyers argued, during a constitutional court session broadcast live on television, that the election was legitimate. An official of the prosecutor’s office, however, said it violated the constitution in principle.

The court issued no ruling and adjourned the session until Monday, officials said.

Parliament elected Maiteeq as new prime minister in a chaotic vote which has been disputed by some lawmakers and officials who said it lacked a quorum.

Thani had resigned in April but has said he received conflicting orders from Libya’s divided parliament over the legitimacy of Maiteeq’s election and would continue in his post until courts resolved the dispute.

Underscoring an almost total lack of security in the country, an International Committee of the Red Cross worker was killed Wednesday.

On Thursday, the ICRC said it was suspending its operations in Libya while it investigates the killing of a staff member there.

Michael Greub, the Swiss head of a subdelegation of the ICRC, was shot in the coastal town of Sirte Wednesday as he left a meeting with two colleagues in an unmarked car.

“It’s a bit difficult to say if the organization was targeted or our colleague because he was a Westerner. We just need to pause the operation,” ICRC spokesman Wolde-Gabriel Saugeron said. The humanitarian agency has more than 160 people in the country.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on June 06, 2014, on page 9.

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Summary

The election of Ahmad Maiteeq as Libya's new prime minister was conducted in violation of the country's temporary constitution, a prosecutor told the Supreme Constitutional Court Thursday.

The North African country is struggling with a political crisis as outgoing premier Abdullah al-Thani has refused to hand over power to Maiteeq who was elected by parliament in a chaotic vote last month.

An official of the prosecutor's office, however, said it violated the constitution in principle.

Parliament elected Maiteeq as new prime minister in a chaotic vote which has been disputed by some lawmakers and officials who said it lacked a quorum.


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