Group of Libyan lawmakers plan to sack parliamentary president

by Reuters
Sunday, 6 April 2014 22:01 GMT

By Ahmed Elumami and Feras Bosalum

TRIPOLI, April 6 (Reuters) - Some 30 Libyan lawmakers plan to remove parliamentary president Nouri Abu Sahmain, the country's top official, over a leaked video in which he was grilled by an unknown questioner over a visit by two women to his house, one of them said on Sunday.

A week ago, Libya's Attorney General said it had launched an investigation into the video, which has been widely circulated on the country's news websites. The alleged visit and later questioning had sparked an outrage in the Muslim country.

The lawmakers' action has the potential to damage Abu Sahmain, who is the top army commander and has quasi-presidential powers, or force him even to resign at a time of growing turmoil in the oil-producing North African country.

Lawmaker Abu Bakr Madur told a televised news conference while surrounded by colleagues that Abu Sahmain had lost the trust of the Libyan people and lied about the visit.

"If he doesn't resign himself, he will have to be removed and have to lose his parliamentary seat," he said, adding that Abu Sahmain had also overstepped his duties by threatening eastern rebels occupying oil ports with a military offensive.

Two deputies told Reuters that around 30 members of parliament supported the plan to remove Abu Sahmain.

At the time of the incident in January, rumours surfaced across Libya that Abu Sahmain had been briefly detained by a militia group to question him about the women. He strongly denied then that he had been kidnapped.

The video showed Abu Sahmain, who has denied any wrongdoing, looking nervous under the questioning. It was apparently filmed without his knowledge.

Libya's transition parliament has more than 120 deputies.

Three years after the ouster of veteran leader Muammar Gaddafi, Libya is grappling with chaos and anarchy as the weak Tripoli government struggles to control the militias who toppled him. Armed factions have seized oilfields and detained officials at will to make political and financial demands. (Writing by Ulf Laessing; Editing by Eric Walsh)

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