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40 Libyan MPs declare support for renegade Haftar

Just under a quarter of Libya's 182 MPs have pledged their support for the military and policing operations carried out by renegade General Khalifa Haftar. Forty MPs called for the abolition of the mandate of the new government headed by Ahmed Meitik.

Abu Bakr Alrajabani MP issued a statement which stressed the need to prevent a short-term government spending a huge budget. The government is not expected to be in office for more than two months; Alrajabani and his colleagues believe that the previous government led by former Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thani should be reinstated and for the electoral process to be expedited.

Meanwhile, a Colonel Jamal Habeel, who presented himself as a spokesman of the National Libyan Army in Tripoli, said on Saturday that the army will not allow the Libyan Parliament to return to power again, Al-Ahrar TV reported. Habeel warned the parliament, which he described as a "conspirator", about "any attempt to circumvent the will of the Libyan people and trying to meet in any other place". He also warned MPs about refusing to "recognise the fait accompli", claiming that the "popular mandate which the army has won strips the parliament of legitimacy."

Street rallies were held on Friday in several Libyan cities to withdraw confidence from the General National Congress (parliament). "The army announces the start of its implementation of a plan to fight the dens of terrorists," said Habeel.

The MPs statement called on the Libyan army to join the NLA under General Haftar's leadership, which pledged to build the state promised by the February 17, 2011 revolution which ended the rule of Muammar Gaddafi.

According to Haftar's spokesman, Mohammad Hijazi, the gunmen who attacked the Libyan Parliament during a session to give confidence to Prime Minister Ahmed Meitik's government last week were "affiliated with General Haftar's army units who led operations in the capital Tripoli".

The security situation in Libya has been deteriorating for the past two weeks after armed clashes erupted between armed groups affiliated with the renegade general and the Libyan army in an attempt to control the city of Benghazi, followed by an attempt to storm the Parliament, the highest authority in the country. Around 80 people were killed and 150 wounded in the fighting.

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