3:04 pm - Wednesday November 4, 2015

Prime Minister of Libya Says He Will Resign

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TRIPOLI, Libya — Libya’s leadership said Sunday that the interim prime minister had declined a parliamentary mandate to form a new government and would step down, in a move likely to compound the difficulties facing a government already divided and facing widespread unrest and militia violence.

The interim prime minister, Abdullah al-Thinni, announced on the government’s website that he was leaving his post but would stay on as leader of the cabinet until a replacement could be found. He is the second Libyan prime minister to resign within two months, underlining the nation’s instability after the fall of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi in 2011.

Mr. Thinni said that he was stepping down “to protect the interests of the country and so as not to drag different sides into fighting when there can be no winner.” He also said his decision was related to an armed attack on him and his family Saturday night in a residential neighborhood that, he added, put the lives of its residents at risk. He said he did not want to be the cause of any fighting or bloodshed.

Officials at Libya’s nascent security forces could not be immediately reached to comment on Mr. Thinni’s claim.

Mr. Thinni served as defense minister under the previous prime minister, Ali Zeidan, and was detained several times under Colonel Qaddafi’s rule. Mr. Zeidan was pushed out of office in a no-confidence vote by Parliament last month.

Mr. Thinni did not say who had attacked him and his family on Saturday night, but his account of what happened, if independently verified, bears the hallmarks of militiamen.

In a separate episode that showed the power wielded by militias, the chairman of Parliament was recently caught on film pleading with a militia commander, trying to explain to him why he was caught with two women at his residence and insisting nothing scandalous was going on.

The video highlighted how weak even Libya’s most prominent politicians are in the face of militias that have become both the enforcers of the law and the fuel of lawlessness in the last three years.

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