Libya’s internationally recognized parliament voted Monday on ratifying a UN-backed peace deal and endorsing a unity government seen as crucial to stemming widespread unrest.
The United Nations and Western diplomats have urged Libyans to back the agreement as a step toward ending the political chaos and strife that have gripped the country since the 2011 ouster of longtime dictator Moammar Ghaddafi.
Libya currently has two rival administrations and parliaments, with the internationally recognized authorities based in the east and a militia-backed authority holding power in Tripoli.
Lawmakers have for days been heading to eastern city Tobruk — where the 176-member legislature has been based for a year and a half — for the two votes, parliament member Fahmy Tuwaty said.
A national unity government headed by businessman Fayez al-Sarraj was formed last week under the UN-sponsored accord, but the recognized parliament needs to approve it for it to start working.
The parliament needs a quorum of 89 members to hold Monday’s session and a majority of two-thirds plus one for a successful vote, a parliament official said.
But around 60 parliamentarians are opposed to the UN-sponsored deal, Tuwaty said, mainly over an article that provides that the unity government, once endorsed, will approve top security and military positions.
The parliament’s head Aguila Saleh and Haftar have also criticized the UN-backed accord.
Libya has been divided since an armed alliance overran Tripoli in August 2014, causing the recognized administration to flee east.
The so-called ‘Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’ (ISIL) takfifi group has taken advantage of the turmoil to expand its influence in the country, in recent weeks launching attacks from its stronghold in the city of Sirte on facilities in the “oil crescent” along the country’s northern coast.