Libya’s government Sunday rejected a decision by the country’s presidential council to suspend the foreign minister over allegations of monopolizing foreign policy.
The standoff between the two bodies is likely to increase political tensions in the North African county less than seven weeks before planned elections. It also comes a few days ahead of an international conference in Paris to push for holding the vote as scheduled Dec. 24.
The Government of National Unity said in a statement that the presidential council doesn’t have the right to suspend Foreign Minister Najla Mangoush and hailed the minister’s efforts as the county’s chief diplomat. It pointed to her work at an international conference held in the capital of Tripoli last month with the aim of resolving the country’s thorniest issues ahead of general elections
The government said that naming members of the government and suspending or investigating government officials are duties exclusive to the prime minister, ABC news reported.
The presidential council, a three-member body serving as the country's president until one is elected, late Saturday suspended Mangoush and barred her from traveling abroad. It accused the minister of not coordinating foreign policy decisions with the council. The council did not elaborate on the circumstances behind the decision.
The country's election agency, meanwhile, announced the registration process for presidential and parliamentary hopefuls will start Monday. The agency said potential candidates have until Nov. 22 to register to run for the country's highest post, while parliamentary hopefuls have until Dec. 7 to register their candidacies.