Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni
Libya PM Abdullah al-Thinni announces resignation on live TV but his office does U-turn (Reuters)

Libyan Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni made a sudden announcement during a live television show to say he was stepping down but his office later said it was just an intention and was not official.

During an interview with a private television channel, Thinni, the internationally recognised prime minister was accused by angry Libyans of ineffective governance, following which he said he was quitting. "I officially resign and I will submit my resignation to the House of Representatives on Sunday," he told the Libyan channel.

Thinni was visibly upset when the host of the interview asked him questions which were reportedly collected from Libyan citizens. When he was repeatedly asked about inadequate security arrangements and poor government services in the war-torn country, he bristled at the accusations.

When the interviewer asked him what he would do if there were protests, he responded: "People do not need to protest against me because I officially resign from my position. They can bring a new prime minister with magic to solve all the problems."

Thinni has been running the government from a remote eastern city and most government officials function out of hotels. The government fled the capital Tripoli after an armed group seized the city and set up its own parallel administration.

Government spokesperson Hatem al-Arabi told Reuters: "The prime minister has not resigned officially. He said during the television interview that he would resign if the street demands it. A resignation needs to be handed in writing to the House of Representatives, which would accept or reject it."