Parliament calls for Unity

Reuters reports that Libya's newly elected parliament called for national unity at its first formal session on Monday, as rival armed factions continued to battle for dominance.

Even as the new House of Representatives met, heavy artillery and rocket fire hit parts of southern and western Tripoli, where Islamist-leaning Misrata brigades are fighting to oust rival Zintani militias from the international airport.

Lawmakers had gathered, far from the fighting in the capital, in a heavily guarded hotel in the eastern city of Tobruk, after three weeks of fighting in Tripoli and in Benghazi had made the two main cities unsafe for the parliament session.

Elected in June, the House of Representatives replaces the General National Congress (GNC) after a vote which analysts said eroded the political dominance that Islamist factions linked to the Muslim Brotherhood had in the legislature.

But in a sign of division over the legitimacy of the new assembly, in Tripoli, Nouri Abusahmain, an Islamist who was president of the GNC, called for a rival parliamentary session in the capital to make an official handover of power.

It was not immediately clear how much support his call would receive. Some Islamist-leaning members of the new parliament and ex-GNC lawmakers did not attend the Tobruk session.

(Source: Reuters)

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