First Published: 2017-12-19

Eastern Libyan parliament approves new central bank governor
Move is likely to cement financial divisions as Libya grapples with political turmoil, economic crisis.
Middle East Online

Western powers fear the central bank division will make it more difficult to resolve a cash crisis

BENGHAZI - Libya's eastern-based parliament approved a new central bank governor on Tuesday, deputies said, a move likely to cement financial divisions as the country grapples with political turmoil and economic crisis.

The oil producer has two governments, a UN-backed one in Tripoli and an eastern-based administration allied to the House of Representatives, part of a power struggle since the toppling of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

The east has set up a separate central bank branch issuing its own banknotes in competition with the headquarters in Tripoli headed by Sadiq al-Kabir.

The House of Representatives based in Tobruk approved as new governor Mohamed Abdelsalam al-Shukri by a vote of 54 of 107 MPs attending, deputies said. Shukri is a veteran central banker who served in the central bank under Gaddafi.

"He will replace Sadiq al-Kabir," said deputy Khalifa al-Dairi. The lawmakers dismissed Kabir in 2014, but he refused to leave, so they appointed his deputy Ali Salim al-Hibri as head of the eastern bank, which Shukri will now run.

There was no immediate reaction from the central bank in Tripoli.

The House of Representatives is the internationally recognised parliament, but is caught up in the greater conflict. It was elected in 2014 with a mandate of just 15 months and has been gripped by divisions. Only a fraction of its originally planned 200 lawmakers attend sessions.

It has not approved the Tripoli government and has allied itself with the eastern military commander, Khalifa Haftar, who on Sunday declared the administration set up through UN mediation to be obsolete.

Western powers fear the central bank division will make it more difficult to resolve a cash crisis -- loss of oil revenues and the reluctance of rich people to deposit money in insecure banks are making banknotes scare across Libya.

The Tripoli-based government had on Monday called on Hibri and Kabir to urgently work together to solve the economic crisis.


Kurdish militia fire rockets at Turkish town

Sudan clamps down on journalists covering bread protests

Egypt's Sisi says will stand for re-election

Pence heads to Mideast despite Muslim, Christian anger

US to overtake Saudi as world’s second crude oil producer

Moroccans wary depreciation of dirham could raise cost of living, despite benefits

Deserted streets, terrified civilians after Turkey attacks Afrin

Iraqi, Kurdish leaders hold talks on bitter regional dispute

Russia-led Syria peace congress to be held January 30

Turkey launches new strikes on Kurdish targets in Syria

Assad regime says Syria a 'tourist' destination

Journalists arrested while reporting Sudan protests

Aid for millions of Palestinians hostage to politics

Lebanon thwarts holiday attacks using IS informant

Mortar fire wounds 14 in Syria mental hospital

Turkish military fires on Kurdish forces in Syria's Afrin

More than 32,000 Yemenis displaced in intensified fighting

UN warns of "lost generation" in South Sudan's grinding conflict

Saudi's refined oil exports offset crude curbs

Turkey's EU minister rejects any option other than full membership

Tribal feuds spread fear in Iraq's Basra

Turkey says not reassured by US comments on border force

UN chief wants to revive Syria gas attack probe

US has no intention to build border force in Syria

Lebanese intelligence service may be spying using smartphones worldwide

Egypt's Sisi sacks intelligence chief

Trump dashes Netanyahu’s hope to move US embassy to Jerusalem

Cyprus denies bail for Israeli organ trafficker

Rising Yemen currency sparks hopes of relief

Turkish ministries to investigate underage pregnancy cover-up

Iraq PM launches online appeal for election allies

Iran central bank sees claim for billions from German stock market blocked

Iraq signs deal with BP to develop Kirkuk oil fields

Israeli occupation forces raid Jenin, kill Palestinian

HRW chief says 'Nobody should be forcibly returned to Libya'

IS poses threat to Iraq one month after 'liberation'

Seven years since ousting dictator, Tunisians still protest

Iran says Trump jeopardising Airbus deals

China says Iranian oil tanker wreck located

Sudan arrests communist leader after protests

Syrian opposition joins condemnation of US 'border force'

Israeli judge detains teen until trial for viral ‘slap video’

Arab league slams US freeze of Palestinian funding

Dubai billionaire to sell 15 percent Damac stake

Britain to put women at heart of peace work in Iraq, Nigeria, South Sudan