February 7, 2014 - 20:11 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan appealed for Libyans to avoid violence in settling a standoff over their interim parliament, whose mandate was due to run out on Friday, Feb 7, with the country deeply divided over its future, Reuters reports.
Two-and-a-half years since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi, Libya's democratic transition is in crisis, the government hamstrung by infighting between Islamists and nationalists and the nascent army is often unable to assert authority.
Militia in the east have blockaded oil exports - the country's main revenue lifeline and security remains a concern, highlighted by Zeidan's own abduction last October.
"I urge all citizens to be committed to peaceful means, all demands can be implemented peacefully and through dialogue," Zeidan said in a statement. "The government is at the command of the people. We will implement the people's will no matter what it will be."
First elected in 2012, the General National Congress or GNC was supposed to end its term on February 7. But its members have extended its mandate to allow a special committee time to draft the constitution seen as a key step in Libya's transition.
Many Libyans feel the GNC has made no progress with the legislature deadlocked between the nationalist National Forces Alliance (NFA), and the Justice and Construction Party (JCP), the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Two major Libyan rival former militia brigades - the Zintanis and the Misratans - are loosely allied respectively with the NFA and with the Islamist leadership.
Signaling its concern about political instability, the United Nations mission in Libya said in a statement that political leaders, revolutionaries and public leaders should prevent the use of violence "as a means of political pressure or resolving differences."
"Whatever the differences, safeguarding the legitimacy and avoiding disruptions of institutions are a national responsibility that rests with everyone," it said.