Libya’s New PM: I Will Not Use Force to Take Over Tripoli

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Libya’s new Prime Minister, Fathi Bashagha said that he expects to take office in Tripoli peacefully, despite the incumbent’s rejection of his government.

In an interview with Reuters, Bashagha said, “there will be no use of force, neither by us nor the existing government”. The Libyan Parliament is expected to swear in Bashagha as Libya’s Prime Minister on Thursday, but the current Prime Minister Abdel-Hamid Dbaiba has refused to cede control, raising the prospect of fighting.

“Tomorrow the oath will be taken before the Libyan Parliament, and then I will go to Tripoli,” he said, adding that there would be arrangements to ensure a “normal and smooth” transition.

The struggle over control of Libya’s government, after the collapse of a scheduled election in December threatens to return the country to the conflict and division that have prevailed for much of the past decade.

Dbaiba was elected a year ago through a UN-backed process, and says his government remains valid. He claimed that he would only cede power after a rescheduled election, that he says will be held in June.

In a televised speech on Wednesday, he accused Libya’s Parliament of seeking to sabotage the elections and said, “what they called a government will never work in reality and will not have a place”.

The legislature has deemed Dbaiba’s term expired, after the December elections did not take place as planned. It unanimously chosen Bashagha to lead a new transitional government, with elections to follow within 14 months.

Armed factions in the capital and western regions appear divided over the crisis, with some saying on Tuesday that they opposed the Parliament’s move to install a new government.

Bashagha, a former interior minister, said he was committed to holding elections within the timeframe set out by Parliament. As well as adding that he wanted to achieve a compromise, between rival political institutions on the issue.

Disputes over basic rules, and laws for the election led to the collapse of the vote in December.