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Libyan lawmakers approve unity government in step towards elections

Libya's parliament on Wednesday confirmed the new interim unity government to lead the conflict-torn North African country to long-delayed elections scheduled for the end of the year.

Libya‘s parliament on Wednesday confirmed the new interim unity government to lead the conflict-torn North African country to long-delayed elections scheduled for the end of the year.

In a vote of confidence 132 lawmakers voted in favour of the government of interim Prime Minister Abdul-Hamid Mohammed Dbeibeh, Parliamentary Speaker Aguila Saleh said.

“The mandate of the government will last until December 24 when the presidential and legislative elections are held,” Saleh said at the end of the vote.

The vote came on the third day of parliamentary debate in the coastal city of Sirte.

The interim administration will replace the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA), which has been in charge of Tripoli and western areas, as well as the competing eastern administration linked with warlord Khalifa Haftar.

Last month, delegates from Libya‘s rival factions elected Dbeibeh as interim premier and Mohammed Menfi as head of a three-person Presidency Council in a UN-hosted process in Switzerland.

Last week, Dbeibeh sent parliament his proposed line-up, which includes 27 ministers, six state ministers and two deputy prime ministers.

US Ambassador to Libya Richard Norland tweeted: “Congratulations on the formation of an interim unity government to set the stage for elections in December.”

Fayez Serraj, head of the GNA, congratulated the unity government on winning the of parliamentary confidence vote, expressing readiness to hand over power to the new administration.

“What has happened today is an important step to end infighting and division, and we call on all to cooperate and unite for the sake of Libya and its renaissance,” Serraj said in a statement.

The United Nations Support Mission in Libya also congratulated the Libyan people on the approval of a new unified government.

Libya has now a genuine opportunity to move forward towards unity, stability, prosperity, reconciliation and to restore fully its sovereignty,” the mission tweeted.

Libya has been in turmoil since long-time ruler Moamer Gaddafi was toppled in 2011. The oil-rich country has become a proxy battleground for rival forces and foreign powers.

Libya‘s elected legislature has been divided between two assemblies: one in the eastern city of Tobruk and the other in Tripoli.

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