abdullah al thinni
Libya's Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni speaks to reporters in Abu Dhabi September 10, 2014. reuters/Stringer

Libya’s elected parliament rejected a new 16-member cabinet proposed on Wednesday by Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni, demanding that he present a cabinet with 10 ministers or less, Al Jazeera reported Thursday.

Thinni, who has been Libya’s acting prime minister since March, had sought to reassert control over the country's government by naming a new cabinet. However, he has faced stiff opposition from lawmakers who have threatened to veto his choices and accused him of failing to impose order in the strife-torn nation.

According to media reports, many lawmakers were also unhappy with Thinni’s decision to appoint himself as the defense minister and his choice of including figures from the previous government headed by the ousted Prime Minister Ali Zeidan.

The parliament’s decision has the potential to further destabilize the already precarious situation in the country. The Thinni-led Libyan government has, in recent months, lost vast territories to competing rebel forces operating within Libya.

The North African country is currently divided between an elected government, which has relocated to the eastern city of Tobruk since it lost control of Tripoli to Misrata-based rebels, and a rival assembly and government set up in the capital by the Misrata forces.

Meanwhile, delegates from 16 nations met in Madrid on Wednesday to discuss the worsening situation in Libya. Many officials attending the international conference reportedly expressed concerns over an "unrelenting campaign of indiscriminate shelling" in many parts of the country and called for an immediate cease-fire.