September 26, 2012 / 11:27 PM / 5 years ago

Libya's congress gives new PM ultimatum to name government

TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Libya’s ruling congress on Wednesday said it threatened to dismiss the new prime minister if he fails to name his new Cabinet by October 8.

Head of Libya's national congress Mohammed Magarief speaks as Libya's Chief of Army staff Yusuf al-Mangoush (L) and Prime Minister Mustafa Abu Shagour (R) stand on either side of him during a news conference in Benghazi September 22, 2012. REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih

A spokesman for the congress told reporters the ultimatum was given after Prime Minister-elect Mustafa Abushagur asked to extend the period in which he can form a government by 10 days.

Abushagur, elected by the congress on September 12, was due to present his government list to the national assembly for approval by September 28.

“If he fails to submit his proposed Cabinet by the deadline, we would consider his position as resigned, and there will be a vote for a new prime minister,” spokesman Omar Homaidan told reporters.

In an emailed statement to Reuters, Abushagur’s office said he would meet the deadline, adding he was working on forming a “coalition government.”

“He will present his government before the end of the period identified on Oct 8,” the statement said.

“He would like to form a national coalition government in what is still a critical stage of Libyan history ... There is a committee studying all the candidate applications for the government since a week ago.”

Abushagur told Reuters this month his government would have a “geographical balance” in a country where regional rivalries are still rife.

He said improving security would be a priority after a deadly attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, in which the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans died.

The interim administration, in which Abushagur was deputy prime minister, has struggled to impose its authority on a myriad of armed groups who have refused to lay down their weapons.

Reporting by Ali Shuaib; Writing by Marie-Louise Gumuchian; Editing by Stacey Joyce

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