Parliament spokesman Omar Hmeidan speaks during a news conference in Tripoli on March 11, 2014. Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan on Tuesday lost a confidence vote in parliament and will be replaced temporarily by the defence minister, Hmeidan said. Picture: Ismail Zitouny


Cairo - Former Libyan premier Ali Zeidan has defied a travel ban and left the country, a source close to Zeidan told dpa on Wednesday, with the move coming less than a day after parliament removed him from office through a no-confidence vote.

Reports in Arab media that Zeidan had fled to Switzerland were not immediately confirmed by the Swiss Foreign Ministry and migration authority.

Libya's interim parliament, the National Congress, voted late on Tuesday to replace Zeidan after his government failed to prevent rebels in eastern Libya from shipping crude oil out of the country on a North Korean-flagged tanker.

Congress, whose President Nuri Abu Sahmain has been engaged in a power struggle with Zeidan, appointed Defence Minister Abdullah al-Thini as caretaker premier for 15 days.

Congress also agreed that parliamentary elections would take place in July, the independent Libya Herald newspaper reported.

After Zeidan's ouster, Prosecutor General Radwan Abdul-Qadir imposed a travel ban on Zeidan pending investigations into his conduct, the Al-Watan news site reported.

Abu Sahmain met with European ambassadors and the US charge d'affaires and updated them on the parliamentary decision, according to state news agency LANA.

Zeidan's ouster came after the North Korean-registered tanker Morning Glory, loaded with crude oil from the rebel-controlled Sidra port, broke through a naval blockade imposed by Zeidan.

Sidra is controlled by renegade Petroleum Facilities Guards who have sided with federalists seeking autonomy and control of oil resources for the eastern Cyrenaica region.

Libyan state television quoted a spokesman for loyalist Petroleum Facilities Guards as saying that unfavourable weather conditions had forced Libyan patrol boats to seek shelter away from the tanker, which was then able to enter international waters.

Zeidan had threatened to bomb the tanker if it set sail carrying crude oil sold illegally by the federalists. - Sapa-dpa