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Libyan Islamists plan power-sharing arrangement, say sources - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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People demonstrate to demand the country's National Congress and transitional government ensure the police and the army carry out their jobs, and that militias are dismantled, in Benghazi May 17, 2013. (REUTERS/Esam Al-Fetori)

People demonstrate to demand the country’s National Congress and transitional government ensure the police and the army carry out their jobs and that militias are dismantled in Benghazi on May 17, 2013. (REUTERS/Esam Al-Fetori)

Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat—Sources in the Libyan parliament say prominent Islamists from the Muslim Brotherhood, the Salafists and the Jihadists, have been discussing the possibility of nominating candidates to share the positions of prime minister and speaker of the parliament.

Sources at the General National Council (GNC), speaking on a condition of anonymity, told Asharq Al-Awsat on Tuesday that Islamists were having serious discussions about toppling Prime Minister Ali Zaidan, who took the prime minister’s office at the end of last year.

The Brotherhood, supported by Salafists and Jihadists, is planning to remove Zaidan, and has mentioned Awad Al-Bar’asi, who is currently the deputy prime minister, as a possible replacement, according to the same sources.

The Brotherhood was reported to be planning to nominate a candidate to replace the outgoing GNC chairman, Muhammad Al-Muqreef, who was ousted by the recent political isolation law. Other Islamists, however, want to nominate their own candidate for this position and want the Brotherhood to settle for the premiership and other ministerial positions.

This comes at a time when the Brotherhood has accused Prime Minister Zaidan of dereliction of duty and responsibility for Saturday’s events in Benghazi, when protesters clashed with members of an armed militia group, leaving 31 dead and many injured.

The Brotherhood published a statement on its website on Tuesday that said: “We strongly condemn the delay by Zaidan’s government in dealing with the protests and ending them promptly,” adding that “the continuing lack of action on behalf of the government forces us to call for the withdrawal of the vote of confidence.”

The Brotherhood warned the media and the troublemakers against “using the country’s troubles for their own ends,” and called on the GNC to “carry out its duties wisely at this critical time.”

It called for a “national charter which rejects interference from Qatar, the UAE and the West in Libya’s affairs,” calling for relations with those states to be based on mutual interest.

Meanwhile, Asharq Al-Awsat reported on Monday that the Libyan government announced it will end armed militia presence in Libya, through force if necessary, following Saturday’s protests in Benghazi. The report also said the Libyan army chief, Yousuf Al-Mangoush, had resigned as a result.

In another development, the Libyan oil company announced its regret for the drop in production to less than one million barrels per day due to the closure of a number of oil fields and ports. The Libyan News Agency said the drop in production would result in losses in income reaching hundreds of millions of dollars.