Libyan court dissolves parliament

Judge Kamal Bashir Dahan (C), head of Libya's Supreme Court, meets with members of the Constitutional Chamber in Tripoli November 6, 2014.

Judge Kamal Bashir Dahan (C), head of Libya’s Supreme Court, meets with members of the Constitutional Chamber in Tripoli November 6, 2014.

Libya’s supreme court dissolved the country’s internationally recognized parliament on Thursday, setting the stage for more political chaos in the violence-wracked nation.

Libya’s elected parliament, the House of Representatives, has been operating from the eastern city of Tobruk since an armed group linked to the western city of Misrata seized the capital Tripoli, dividing the North African country.

The court’s ruling, which cannot be appealed, prompted celebratory gunfire in Tripoli, an AFP correspondent reported.

But it piled further pressure on the government of Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thani – holed up in Tobruk near the Egyptian border and has almost no control over Libya’s three main cities.

The court had been asked by an Islamist lawmaker to rule on the constitutionality of the parliament elected in June that approved Thani’s government, one of two rival administrations in the North African country.

Abderrauf al-Manai, who with other Islamist lawmakers has boycotted the parliament’s sessions in Tobruk, argued that the legislature was in breach of the constitution because it was sitting in neither Tripoli nor second city Benghazi.

He had also argued that the parliament had exceeded its authority in calling for foreign military intervention after the militia takeover of the capital.

Benghazi too is largely under the control of Islamist militias, among them Ansar al-Sharia, blacklisted by Washington as a terrorist group for its alleged role in a deadly 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in the eastern city.

 
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