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Libyan court rules elected parliament illegal

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Libya’s Supreme Court has announced the dissolution of the UN-backed elected parliament, which has taken refuge in the eastern city of Tobruk, while another parliament vying for legitimacy is stationed in the capital Tripoli.

The decision, announced on Thursday, came in light of a request by a Tripoli parliament member to rule on the constitutionality of the June 25 vote that led to the creation of Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni’s government in the North African country.

“The Constitutional Circuit in the Supreme Court has ruled on Thursday to accept the appeal concerning the illegality” of developments leading to the elections, the news agency LANA reported.

Al Jazeera’s Mahmoud Abdul-Wahed, reporting from Tripoli, said the court ruling renders al-Thinni’s government “unconstitutional”.

He also reported that supporters of the Tripoli-based legislature gathered in Tripoli to celebrate the court decision.

The UN said it will “closely” study the ruling, and will consult “Libyan stakeholders across the political spectrum, and with international partners”.

It also said that it remains “committed to working with all parties to help Libya overcome the current political and security crisis”.

The Supreme Court’s decision, which may have set the stage for more political chaos in the divided country, also casts a shadow on the future of al-Thinni’s government currently fighting armed groups as it seeks to restore law and order.

Isolated government

Speaking to Al Jazeera from London, Jason Palk, an expert on Libya, said that despite the political impasse, the court decision could still pave the way for international mediators to step up negotiations with the rival governments.

Al-Thinni and his government, isolated in the far eastern city of Tobruk near the Egyptian borders, has little control over Libya’s three main cities.

The Tobruk-based legislature called an emergency meeting to review the court ruling.

“Lawmakers will not recognise a verdict decided under the gun,” Issam al-Jehani, a Tobruk-based parliamentarian, wrote on Facebook.

Rival armed rebels have formed two loosely affiliated blocs: one backing the government in Tobruk and seen as more moderate, the other backing the leaders in Tripoli and seen as more religiously conservative.

Recent violence between rival sides have claimed hundreds of lives in the past few weeks.

Libya has been gripped by unrest since the 2011 uprising that toppled longtime ruler Muammar Gaddafi, as the weak central authorities have struggled to rein in regional, ideological and other armed groups who control much of the country. Al Jazeera

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