On Tuesday, the Libyan Parliament ushered in a new transitional government for the country, headed by Prime Minister, Fathi Bashagha. 92 of the 101 lawmakers in attendance approved the decision, in a live broadcast from the city of Tobruk.
The new Libyan government includes three deputy prime ministers, 29 ministers, and six ministers of state. Two women are in the Cabinet, overseeing the Ministry of Culture and Arts, and holding the position of State Minister for Women’s Affairs.
Bashagha appointed Ahmed Houma, the second Deputy Speaker of the Parliament to lead the Ministry of Defense, and Brig. Essam Abu Zreiba, from the western city of Zawiya as Interior Minister. Former Ambassador to the European Union, Hafez Qadour was named Foreign Minister.
The appointment of Bashagha last month, a former Libyan Interior Minister from the western city of Misrata, is part of a new Parliamentary roadmap. It also involves several constitutional amendments, and for elections to be held in 14 months.
The move deepened divisions among rival factions, and raised fears that fighting could return after more than a year and a half of relative calm. Opposing armed groups have been mobilising in Tripoli over recent weeks, as the country’s search for peace and a unified central government remains elusive.
The outgoing Libyan Prime Minister of the Government of National Unity (GNU), Abdel-Hamid Dbaiba has previously warned that the appointment of a new interim government could lead to war and chaos in the country. He renewed his pledge to only hand power over to an elected government. He also announced a plan that is likely to be unrealistic, which is to hold elections in June.
He described any plan to form a transitional government as “reckless” and “a farce” that could lead to more internal fighting.
Libya has been mired in a political crisis since the fall of long-time leader Muammar Gaddafi’s regime in 2011. Observers fear that Libya will return to having two opposing governments, threatening the nation’s vital oil sector.
The previous UN-backed peace process aimed to see the country hold elections in December 2021, but this failed due to disputes over the laws.