TRIPOLI May 6 Gunmen refused to give up control
of two ministries in Libya's capital on Monday, even after
Libya's parliament caved in to their demand and banned any
senior official under dictator Muammar Gaddafi from holding
The new law, passed with an overwhelming majority on Sunday,
could embolden the armed groups to flex their military muscle
further and undermine the already weak transitional government
set up in the wake of the 2011 civil war that toppled Gaddafi.
It could also unseat the prime minister and the leader of
the parliament, both of whom helped rally the exiled opposition
to Gaddafi from the 1980s. Other top administrators could also
be removed from office leading to a significant skills gap.
"If members of the High Electoral Commission are forced to
resign as a result of the political isolation law, finding their
replacements will take time, as will the eventual drafting of
electoral laws," said Geoff Porter, head of North Africa Risk
"All of which will cumulatively delay the election of a
constitutional committee and thereby prolong the transition
government way beyond its intended mandate."
Nearly two years after Gaddafi was overthrown, the gunmen
who fought to end his 42-year dictatorship are refusing to lay
down their arms and go back to civilian life - militiamen are
more visible than Libyan state forces in the capital.
The cabinet and Libya's official armed forces are so weak
that swathes of the oil-producing desert country have long been
outside central government control.
Gunmen then seized the Foreign Ministry more than a week ago
and the Justice Ministry last Tuesday.
Parliament is due to form a commission to decide how to
implement the sweeping law; the list of jobs held under Gaddafi
that would lead to disqualification from politics and executive
roles in state firms still leaves room for debate in some cases.
Prime Minister Ali Zeidan, a diplomat under Gaddafi until he
defected to the exiled opposition in 1980, could be among those
barred from office.
Fearing the commission was a ruse to persuade the militias
to relinquish control of the ministries and then not implement
the law, gunmen said they would stay in place till the measure
was put into practice.
"A couple of the groups have left, but we are going to stay
until the law is applied because we don't trust them to
implement the measures," said one of the gunmen at the Justice
(Additional reporting by Hani Amara; Editing by Jon Hemming)