Armed Demonstrations Subside Outside Libya’s Parliament

Posted November 2nd, 2012 at 1:20 pm (UTC-5)
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Armed militiamen and protestors appear to be winding down demonstrations at Libya's national assembly building in Tripoli following protests over the country's newly approved cabinet.

The dissent erupted Wednesday evening shortly after parliament endorsed the 30-member cabinet chosen by Prime Minister-designate Ali Zeidan. The protestors say some members of the Cabinet, most notably the foreign and interior ministers, have ties to the former regime of Moammar Gadhafi.

They say members with such links should be excluded from political life in accordance with a recently approved law forbidding members of the former regime from holding office in any new government.

Reports from the area on Friday say the demonstrations subsided after Zeidan agreed to hear their grievances, though no concessions have been publicly announced.

The protests highlight the fragility that continues to plague the North African nation as it builds a government structure.

Zeidan is the second prime minister-designate to try to form a government under the new National General Assembly following elections in July.

A previous prime minister-designate, Mustafa Abu Shaghur, gave up after parliament voted down his cabinet following complaints that his nominations lacked diversity among the political parties.

Zeidan has tried to strike a balance in his new government between members of the liberal coalition and the Muslim Brotherhood's Justice and Construction Party.

If sworn in, the new government faces several daunting tasks, including reining in former rebel fighters who defeated Gadhafi's forces during last year's eight-month civil conflict.

Militia groups remain at odds, and Libya has yet to implement a strong military force.

Lawmakers must also begin the process of rebuilding infrastructure in many parts of the country that were damaged or destroyed.