Bashagha Calls for Peace, Unity, and Reform in Libya

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The Head of Libya’s Government of Stability, Fathi Bashagha called for “Libyans to be reunited, blood to be spared, and the good reform to be given its chance.”

In a recorded speech to the people of Misrata, Bashagha said, “consensus needs concessions. Dialogue is not a Qur’an, and we cannot go continue indefinitely or without the principles of the glorious February Revolution, such as the sovereignty of Libya and the rejection of foreign interference.”

“I participated with you in our blessed revolution. I participated in the resistance of this city, and had six martyrs from my family in defence of Libya and Misrata,” he said.

Bashagha indicated that he did not seek “a position, booty, or profit. God enriched me as a businessman in the city of commerce and economy, Misrata.”

“Libya is in a critical and sensitive situation, it needs us to make sacrifices, for reconciliation. The instability must end, the wars must stop, and the only place that can do this is Misrata,” he added.

On Tuesday, the Libyan Parliament ushered in a new transitional government for the country, headed by 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.