Libyan PM draws crowds for mass wedding and protest against Parliament



Libyan Prime Minister Abdulhamid Dbeibah arrives in Downing Street for a meeting in London.

Several thousand Libyans filled a place in Tripoli on Friday night for a state-funded mass wedding celebration that also drew supporters of transitional prime minister Abdulhamid Dbeibah and protesters against the eastern-based parliament.

Dbeibah was installed in March through a UN-backed process to lead a unity government after years of division between rival administrations in the civil war, and to prepare for an election.

The election is slated for Dec. 24, but there is controversy over how parliament handled a law for the vote to take place and analysts fear that the maneuvering between rival factions could destroy the peace process.

Dbeibah courted popular opinion with measures such as financial support for newlyweds, but ran into problems with the parliament, which was elected nationally in 2014, but moved east as the country was separating between warring factions.

READ | War-weary Libyans yearn for an end to daily blackouts

The parliament did not pass its budget and this week its president, Aguila Saleh, voted to withdraw the confidence of the government although some members of the chamber said he had falsified the vote count.

Saleh had already passed a law for a presidential election which his critics said was designed to allow him to run without risking his current role by stepping down for three months before the vote.

Parliament did not pass a law for a parliamentary election.

Many people who attended the wedding celebration in Tripoli on Friday were there to protest the parliament and support Dbeibah.

“We have had enough of the parliament. We elected them and we are now asking them to come out. They have become a real headache,” said Ali al-Hamdi, 41, a trader.

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