CAIRO -- Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan was ousted Tuesday in a parliamentary vote of no confidence on the heels of a confrontation with a breakaway militia that sought to bypass the weak government and sell oil on its own.
Lawmakers named the defense minister to act as prime minister until a replacement for Zeidan is found.
Zeidan had been struggling for months to keep control of a fractured and impotent central administration in the North African state, which faces growing chaos in the wake of Moammar Kadafi’s overthrow three years ago.
Rebel commanders have struck out on their own, with armed groups -- sometimes loosely affiliated with the government and drawing pay for that nominal alliance -- wielding far more power than the state.
Militias had seized control of crucial eastern oil ports months ago, and over the weekend moved for the first time to deal directly with would-be buyers. This week, a North Korean-flagged tanker took on a cargo of crude oil and sailed from the port of Es Sedr, with the militias defying government threats of attack.
Zeidan’s government had ordered the military to block the tanker’s departure, and subsequently claimed to have taken control of the vessel. Militias denied that had occurred.
Hassan is a special correspondent.
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