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AKIPRESS.COM - Gunmen have stormed Libya's parliament and opened fire, forcing legislators to abandon a vote on the next prime minister, Reuters reported citing the witnesses.
Parliament spokesman Omar Hmeidan said several people were wounded by the gunmen, who were linked to one of the defeated candidates for prime minister. He gave no name. Legislators fled from the building, witnesses said. Tuesday's incident ended quickly but the vote was postponed until next week.
The government has been unable to control armed groups and Islamists who helped oust Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 but refuse to disarm and have carved out regional fiefdoms. Militias have repeatedly attacked the interim General National Congress to make political or financial demands.
Mr Hmeidan said deputies had started the final vote on a replacement for Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni, who resigned two weeks ago saying that gunmen had attacked his family.
In the first ballot, businessman Ahmed Maiteeq came out on top among seven candidates. A second round between Mr Maiteeq and the runner-up Omar al-Hasi was due to take place when the gunmen burst into the assembly.
Mr al-Thinni had resigned just one month into the job. He had replaced Ali Zeidan, who was fired by deputies over attempts by rebels in the volatile east to sell oil independently.
The assembly is deadlocked between Islamists, tribes and nationalists, compounding a sense of chaos as Libya's fledgling army tries to assert itself against unruly ex-rebels, tribal groups and Islamist militants.
In February, it agreed to hold early elections in an effort to assuage Libyans frustrated at political chaos nearly three years after the fall of Gaddafi. Deputies initially agreed to extend their term after their mandate ran out on February 7 to allow a special committee time to draft a new constitution. But that move provoked protests from Libyans angry at the slow pace of political change.