- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 11, 2014

TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) — Libya’s parliament ousted the prime minister in a Tuesday vote of confidence, a move prompted by a crisis this week when a militia controlling an eastern port defied Tripoli’s authority by trying to sell oil.

The chamber named the defense minister as an interim prime minister until a replacement for Ali Zidan is found.

The vote of confidence followed the standoff between the central government in Tripoli and powerful militias in the eastern region of the North African nation.

A militia holding the key port of al-Sidra sparked a three-day crisis when it attempted to load oil into a North Korean-flagged tanker that docked there without government permission.


The government said Monday that its forces had taken control of the tanker, but the militia denied this.

There was no word immediately available from Zidan on his ouster, which raises anew the potential for armed conflict. Most politicians in Libya are backed by militias with regional or ideological allegiances, and many are not likely to accept his removal.

Parliament started off as a 200-seat chamber, but the number of its lawmakers has been reduced to 180 after a series of resignations and dismissals. The “no” vote won the support of 121 lawmakers, according to lawmaker Hussein el-Ansari.