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.

 

Syrian rebels agree to leave new area outside Damascus

Family accuses Israel of killing Palestinian in Malaysia

Rouhani slams officials' 'vow of silence' in face of protests

US has 'concerns' about Turkey holding fair vote under state of emergency

Cinema makes return to Saudi Arabia

UN Security Council meets over Syria in Sweden

Turkish government rejects criticism of election campaign

Condemnation after Gaza teenager killed by Israeli soldiers

Natalie Portman says backed out of Israel prize over Netanyahu

Morocco, EU start talks on new fisheries deal

FIFA to return to Morocco to check hotels, stadiums

Turkey in shock after violent Istanbul derby

Iraq pays first war reparations to Kuwait since 2014

Fiery kites adopted as new tactic by Gaza protesters

Romanian president slams plan to move Israel embassy

Western strikes on Syria bring no change whatsoever

Trump criticises OPEC for high oil prices

Syria says rebels south of capital surrender

Market has capacity to absorb higher oil prices: Saudi minister

Putin 'ready' for Trump summit

Saudi Arabia to host first public film screening

HRW criticises Lebanon for evicting Syria refugees

Saudi says intercepted ballistic missile from Yemen

Russia mulls supplying S-300 missile systems to Syria

Bashir fires Sudan foreign minister

Washington: Assad still has 'limited' chemical capability

European MPs urge US not to scrap Iran deal

Oil price soars to highest level in years

Two more pro-Kurdish MPs stripped of Turkey seats

Oil theft 'costing Libya over $750 million annually'

Turkey's snap polls: bold gambit or checkmate for Erdogan?

Iran arrests senior official over public concert

Bahrain sentences 24 to jail, strips citizenship

UN experts urge Iran to cancel Kurd's death sentence

Moderate quake strikes near Iran nuclear power plant

Syria regime forces caught in surprise IS attack

Turkey sentences 18 to life for killing ‘hero’ coup soldier

Exxon faces setback in Iraq as oil and water mix

Libya to clamp down on fuel smuggling

Yemen to arrest colonel for overlooking African migrant rape

Erdogan sends Turkey to snap polls on June 24

Qatar joins Gulf military exercise in apparent compromise

Saudi-Russia oil alliance likely to undercut OPEC

UN in security talks with Syria on chemical probe

Riyadh says two al Qaeda militants killed in Yemen