Libya deploys army forces in Tripoli following threat

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The deployments came shortly after a militia set a five-hour ultimatum for the General National Congress to hand over power.

The deployments came shortly after a militia set a five-hour ultimatum for the General National Congress to hand over power.

TRIPOLI - Libyan army forces began to deploy on the outskirts of the capital Tripoli on Tuesday following a threat by militiamen to attack the parliament.

Checkpoints have been set up by army and security forces inside the capital, according to Anadolu Agency reporter.

On Tuesday, a Libyan militia set a five-hour ultimatum for the General National Congress (interim parliament) to hand over power, threatening to "target" lawmakers and bring them to justice if they failed to heed the ultimatum.

But GNC Speaker Nouri Abusahmain said that the army and revolutionaries are "ready to defend legitimacy".

"We have given orders [for security agencies] to deal with any threats to legitimacy," Abusahmain said. "There is no alternative to a peaceful rotation of power."

Libya has remained in political crisis since the GNC voted to extend by one year both its mandate and that of the transitional period instated following the fall of Gaddafi in late 2011.

Under an initial transitional timetable, parliament should have elected a constituent assembly, drafted a constitution, and put the draft charter to a popular referendum before holding parliamentary polls sometime before February.

The new GNC-endorsed timetable, however, stipulates that a constituent assembly be elected by February and a new constitution drafted by July, to be put to a vote by August. Parliamentary elections should be held by December, according to the new timeline.

The twin term extensions have met with anger on the part of many Libyans, who have called for protests aimed at pressuring parliament to reverse the move.

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