Rival Libyan PM forced to flee Tripoli in failed bid to take control of Libya

Libya is once again divided between rival factions after clashes erupted on Tuesday morning when Fathi Bashagha – appointed prime minister by the country’s House of Representatives – tried to take control of the government.

Libya is currently ruled by the UN-recognized administration of Abdel Hamid Dbeibeh, but it has refused to hand over power.

Bashagha, appointed prime minister by the Tobruk parliament, entered Tripoli overnight after a two-month standoff between rival Libyan administrations, but pulled out hours later as fighting rocked the capital” to preserve the safety and security of citizens,” his office said.

Fighting was reported in the neighborhoods of al-Mansoura and souk al-Thulatha in central Tripoli.

Libya now has two governments: the Tobruk-based House of Representatives in the east of the country which appointed Bashagha, a former interior minister under a previous UN-recognized government; and the High Council of State in the west, home to the UN-recognized Government of National Accord.

The two legislative bodies were supposed to agree on a new government to replace Dbeibeh’s unity government.

Lawmakers say Dbeibah’s term expired after Libya failed to hold presidential elections in December, as scheduled under a UN-brokered deal. The failure to hold the vote was a blow to international efforts to end a decade of chaos in Libya.

Bashagha is seen as aligned with strongman Khalifa Haftar, the eastern-based military commander who launched a 14-month military offensive on Tripoli in 2019.

Bashagha, like Dbeibah, comes from the powerful coastal city of Misrata. He has repeatedly declared that he will enter Tripoli without violence. His previous attempts to do so ended in his convoy being blocked by rival factions.

But there is skepticism about Bashagha’s nomination and the transparency or legitimacy of his election.

UN Special Adviser on Libya Stephanie Williams called for calm and appealed to rival sides to refrain from taking part in the clashes. “Conflicts cannot be resolved through violence, but through dialogue and mediation,” she tweeted.

Comments are closed.