UN worries over Libyan parliament’s vote on new ones

The UN expressed concern on Thursday after Libya’s eastern parliament voted to install a government that replaces the unity government, a move that threatens to create violence between the two sides and return to the territorial division.

An e-mail from the UN Secretary-General’s spokesman said that there were reports that the vote did not meet the standards of transparency and procedure and that there were intimidation acts before the session.

The UN is instead focused on renewing its aspirations ahead of elections, the spokesman said, adding that UN Libyan adviser Stephanie Williams will soon hold talks between parliament and an opposing political body, the High Council of State.

The position of the international powers will be the key in the forthcoming power struggle between the incumbent Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah and the newly appointed government under Fathi Bashagha.

Bashagha, a 59-year-old former fighter pilot from Misrata near Tripoli, is backed 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 support for 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 politicians who has good relations with foreign powers that support rival sides in the country.

The Dbeibah government was put in place a year ago through a UN-backed peace process aimed at resolving Libya’s political problems through an election last year, but the vote did not take place in discussions on the rules.

UN advisers to Libya and the Western powers have said they still recognize the Government of National Unity (GNU) and have called on Libya’s rival factions and political institutions to prioritize early elections rather than a new transition period.

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