Libya's national congress votes to dismiss prime minister

Just after Libya's Prime Minister Mustafa Abu Shagur tried for the second time to name his cabinet ministers, the national congress voted to dismiss him. Abu Shagur was elected by the assembly Sept. 12.

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    Libya's Prime Minister Mustafa Abu Shagour attends a news conference in Tripoli September 27. On Sunday Libya' national congress voted to dismiss Abu Shagour from his post.
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Libya's national congress dismissed the newly elected prime minister on Sunday in a vote of no confidence which underscored the difficulties of forming a government which can unite the country's different factions and regions.

The vote came minutes after Prime Minister Mustafa Abushagur named 10 new ministers - his second and ultimately unsuccessful attempt to form a government - after he was forced to withdraw his previous cabinet in the face of protests.

Abushagur was elected by the assembly on Sept 12 and last week announced an original list for a government which included 29 ministries.

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He withdrew the list after protests from the national congress as well as the public saying it was not representative of the country. Between 100 and 150 demonstrators from the western town of Zawiyah stormed the national congress on Thursday.

The problem of forming a viable government in Libya underscores the huge challenges facing the major oil and gas exporter as it seeks to emerge from the civil war that toppled Muammar Gaddafi last year.

The original list had many unknown figures, and was believed to include several members of the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood. There were no candidates from the liberal National Forces Alliance.

After withdrawing his initial choice, Abu Shagur was then given 72 hours to name a new government acceptable to the national congress or face a vote of no confidence.

He said he had come under pressure by political parties demanding roles in certain ministries.

"The first list was not successful, it had some mistakes, and I was prepared to fix it," he told the national congress on Sunday. "Some political entities that demanded certain positions began to discuss a vote of no-confidence. I would not bow down to the pressure of political entities."

The national congress will now need to choose a new prime minister who is also likely to struggle to win agreement on a government.

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