Libya’s interim prime minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah has called on his government to continue working in the midst of the eastern parliament’s decision to appoint Fathi Bashagha as prime minister.
Dbeibah told ministers they should ignore rumors circulating on social media and reiterated the idea that he will only hand over power to a government through elections.
He referred to the government of the East-based parliament led by Bashagha as a parallel structure.
“The National Unity Government is still in service and is the legitimate authority,” Dbeibah said.
He also noted that the country would hold elections at the end of June and that the Libyans are ready for the polls.
Meanwhile, about 200 vehicles gathered around Mitiga Airport to show support for Dbeibah.
The convoy, which consisted of soldiers loyal to the constitution and the electoral force, shouted slogans in favor of Dbeibah.
Dbeibah was appointed interim leader last year during a UN-backed process aimed at helping the North African country recover from a decade of chaos that followed the ouster of dictator Moammar Gaddafi.
His government had the mandate to lead the country to elections on December 24, 2021.
But the vote was called off and parliament began interviewing candidates to replace Dbeibah, a process that could trigger new East-West power struggles in the troubled nation. The East-based parliament is for Putist General Khalifa Haftar, who campaigned against the internationally recognized interim government to take over the capital Tripoli.
The House of Representatives (HoR) in the eastern city of Tobruk had appointed Bashagha as prime minister in February.
It had commissioned him to form a government to replace it in Dbeibah, based in the western capital of Tripoli and considered by Saleh to have survived its mandate.
The emergence of the Bashagha government once again gives the country two prime ministers, as was the case between 2014 and a landmark east-west ceasefire in 2020.
Bashagha, a 59-year-old former fighter pilot from Misrata near Tripoli, is supported by East-based Putist general Khalifa Haftar, whose catastrophic attack on the capital in 2019-2020 ended in defeat and a return to UN peace efforts, following Turkey’s efforts. support for the legitimate Tripoli government.
During Bashagha’s term as Home Secretary 2018-2021, he worked to reduce the influence of militias and bring warriors into state-led forces.
He is one of the few major Libyan actors who has good relations with foreign powers that support rival sides in the country.
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