Home LATEST NEWS Libya finds itself with two rival prime ministers

Libya finds itself with two rival prime ministers

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In a vote likely to exacerbate tensions between rival camps, Parliament approved Mr. Bachagha’s team by 92 votes out of the 101 deputies present, announced its president, Aguila Saleh, after a brief session in the city of Tobruk (east).

Our government has earned the trust in a clear, transparent and public way […] in an honest democratic processwelcomed Mr. Bachagha during a speech broadcast Tuesday evening.

I did not come to settle accounts […] but to build the homeland. We reach out to everyone, even our opponents he added.

He proclaimed his intention to take office in the capital Tripoli peacefully and safely in coordination with the security and armed bodies.

The handover will take place without a hitchhe assured.

Obvious fraud according to Dbeibah

The vote in Parliament on the government list made up of 29 ministers, 3 deputy prime ministers and 6 ministers of state took place by a show of hands under the orders of Mr. Saleh, a cacique from eastern Libya whose detractors accuse of disregarding the rules to get the new government approved.

Although bloated, the new government has only two women. His swearing in before Parliament is scheduled for Thursday.

The government in place in Tripoli, led by businessman Abdelhamid Dbeibah, immediately denounced in a press release a obvious fraud in the vote count and asserted that the quorum necessary to grant confidence has not been reached.

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The national unity government says it will continue its action and will ignore these trivialitiesthe statement added.

In a second statement, he warned that he will consider any attempted intrusion into its buildings as an attack on the seat of government […] and that he will retaliate against such acts in accordance with the law.

The current Libyan Prime Minister, Abdul Hamid Dbeibah

The current Libyan Prime Minister, Abdul Hamid Dbeibah

Photo: afp via getty images / –

Back to square one

Already undermined by divisions between competing institutions in the East and West, Libya finds itself in fact with two rival governments, as it was between 2014 and 2021 in the midst of a civil war.

On February 10, Parliament appointed Mr. Bachagha to replace Mr. Dbeibah. However, the latter has repeated over and over that he will only cede power to an executive who has emerged from the ballot box, raising fears of a resumption of hostilities after a relative lull since the end of 2020.

The possibility of a resumption of conflict is real, even if it could go crescendo rather than erupt immediatelycommented on Twitter Wolfram Lacher, Libya expert at the German SWP Institute.

And here we have Libya back to square one with a government of national unity in Tripoli under Dbeibah whose legitimacy is questionable at best, and another government of National Stability approved under duress by Parliament in the Eastreacted for his part Emadeddin Badi, researcher at the Global Initiative think tank.

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Elections, the crux of the conflict

After years of war and divisions, Mr. Dbeibah was appointed a year ago, as part of a UN-sponsored peace process, to head an interim government to lead the transition by organizing presidential and legislative elections.

But persistent disputes have led to the postponement, sine die, of the double ballot on which the international community had placed great hopes to finally put an end to the chaos which has ravaged the country since the fall of the regime of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

Mr. Dbeibah announced last week that he wanted to organize legislative elections before the end of June.

Mr. Bachagha, 59, became known to the general public during his time at the head of the Ministry of the Interior from 2018 to early 2021.

In December, as a postponement of the election loomed, the presidential candidate had moved closer to the rival camp by traveling to Benghazi, where he had met Marshal Khalifa Haftar, a strongman from the East , in the name of national reconciliation.

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