Tripoli: The speaker of Libya’s General National Congress confirmed Ahmad Matiq as the country’s prime minister on Monday, after approving his appointment, one day after a deputy speaker had declared Matiq’s election invalid.
“Ahmad Omar Matiq was appointed head of the transitional government, and asked to form his cabinet and present it to the GNC for a confidence vote within 15 days,” said the text of a decision signed by speaker Nouri Abu Sahmein.
He confirmed that he had asked Matiq to form a new government within two weeks, according to the decree posted on parliament’s website. Sahmein wields quasi-presidential powers.
Parliament elected Matiq on Sunday after chaotic voting in parliament but First Deputy Speaker Ezzedin Al Awami initially said the businessman had failed to obtain the necessary quorum.
The appointment would make the Islamist-backed Matiq Libya’s youngest and fifth premier since long-time autocrat Muammar Gaddafi was toppled and killed in a 2011 uprising
A deputy, Tahar Al Mokni, said the decision to name the 42-year-old businessman as premier had been signed by Abu Sahmein, who did not attend a Sunday night session of the GNC to vote on his appointment.
Abu Sahmein has not been seen in public for weeks, and some MPs have demanded his resignation over suspected involvement in a “moral” scandal.
The GNC indicated he was abroad for unspecified treatment.
It is unclear if Abu Sahmein’s decision to appoint Matiq will end a political and legal dispute over his election after it was rejected by several MPs and the deputy speaker, Ezzedine Al Awami.
Contacted on Monday, the spokesman of the outgoing government, Ahmad Lamine, was unable to comment on the GNC decision.
Matiq had secured 113 votes in the GNC on Sunday night, but needed 120 to be declared the country’s new prime minister in accordance with the constitution, said the government’s official website.
But in another statement posted on the website, Awami had declared the vote of confidence on Miitig as prime minster as “void and illegal”.
It followed an earlier chaotic session of the General National Congress.
After the initial vote count, GNC official Salah Al Makhzum said Matiq had in fact clinched 121 votes in the 185-seat interim parliament, apparently after a recount, and beat challenger Omar Al Hassi, a university professor.
Some deputies denounced the recount, which they said took place after the session had officially closed.
Since Gaddafi’s ouster, successive governments in the oil-rich North African country have struggled to impose order as heavily armed former rebel brigades have carved out their own fiefdoms and refused to join the security forces.
Matiq has vowed to rebuild state institutions, namely the army and police.