Libya‘s eastern parliament has stated that the administration it appointed under Fathi Bashagha should be stationed in the seaside city of Sirte for the time being.
The announcement is the strongest indication yet that Bashagha will not be able to take over as Prime Minister of Tripoli.
After parliament in the east elected Bashaga as the new prime minister in February, Libya has been divided into two rival ministries.
The country’s current Prime Minister, Abdulhamid Dbeibah, stationed in the capital, has refused to relinquish office without a vote.
Armed factions back both men, and it’s thought that conflicts between the two could spark a fresh round of fighting.
Recall, Bashagha, who was nominated by the eastern-based parliament earlier in April, said that he would enter Tripoli peacefully without resorting to force, despite long-drawn deadlock between competing groups.
Bashagha attempted to approach Tripoli with a big armed convoy three weeks ago, but was forced to retreat when soldiers associated with Dbeibah blocked the roads into the capital.
Since then, Libya has been locked in a political stalemate, with both governments claiming legitimacy, worries of new war or territorial split, and the United Nations and Western countries attempting to resurrect the failed election.
He claimed that there were signs from within Libya and outside that he would be able to take over in Tripoli, and that Dbeibah’s government would be unable to operate outside of the capital.
Libya has seen little peace since a NATO-backed rebellion against Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, and the country was split in 2014 between warring eastern and western factions who supported opposing regimes.
From 2019 to 2020, Bashagha was the interior minister in Tripoli’s internationally recognized government, and he was instrumental in fighting off an invasion by eastern parliament-backed forces led by Khalifa Haftar.
On February 10, 2022, Bashagha was selected as prime minister-designate by the eastern-based Libyan House of Representatives. However, Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh rejected Bashagha’s appointment as prime minister, stating that he will only hand power after a national election. Khalifa Haftar and his Libya National Army welcomed Bashagha’s appointment.
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