June 24, 2015 / 1:35 PM / in 2 years

Libya's elected parliament backs U.N. peace plan, with amendments

BENGHAZI, Libya (Reuters) - Libya's elected parliament has voted to stay in United Nations peace talks after calling for amendments to a proposed power-sharing deal aimed at ending the conflict between the country's two rival governments.

Western governments are pushing the two factions to agree to the U.N. deal as the only way to end a crisis that threatens to split the North African OPEC state four years after an uprising ousted strongman Muammar Gaddafi.

An internationally recognized government and elected House of Representatives operates in the east while a self-declared government and the re-instated former parliament known as the General National Congress or GNC holds the capital Tripoli.

"The House of Representatives agreed on amendments of the last draft by the U.N. with 66 out of 76 members voting," lawmaker Tareq al-Jouroushi told Reuters on Wednesday.

Libya has been sliding deeper into chaos, worrying Western powers who fear it will become a failed state just over the Mediterranean sea from mainland Europe. Militants allied to Islamic State have also gained ground in the chaos.

After months of negotiations in Europe, Algeria and Morocco, the U.N. talks are at a delicate stage with fighting continuing on the ground.

Earlier this month, the House of Representatives split over whether to continue with the U.N. negotiations after disagreements over parts of the power-sharing accord, which calls for creation of a second chamber.

Jourousi said HOR amendments included watering down the powers of the proposed second body, and also making its membership more balanced between the two factions.

A GNC lawmaker told Reuters their negotiating team planned to head back to Morocco for another round of talks this week. It also had its own amendments to the draft.

The U.N. proposal calls for a one-year-long government of national accord, where a council of ministers headed by a prime minister with two deputies will have executive authority.

It says the House of Representatives will be the legislative body, but a 120-member State Council consultative body will also be created and 90 members will come from the Tripoli GNC congress.

Reporting by Ayman Al-Warfalli in Benghazi and Ahmed Elumami in Tripoli; writing by Patrick Markey; editing by Ralph Boulton

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