Libyan Rival Prime Minister Bashagha Says He Has No Plans To Rule From Tripoli

Libyan rival Prime Minister, Fathi Bashagha, has said he is not planning to rule from Tripoli after his attempted move sparked clashes there last week, reported Africa News.

Bashagha said his government would work from its headquarters in Sirte, a city that is halfway between the country’s east and west.

Notably, rival administrations- the Tripoli-based Government of National Unity led by Dbeibah and the one appointed by the Tobruk-based House of Representatives, claim to be the legitimate rulers until elections are held.

Bashagha said last week he had entered Tripoli in a civilian car and that those escorting him were unarmed. A young man was killed during the incident. The Libyan prime minister identified him as Ahmed Alashabab, calling him a supporter who was defending him from militiamen.

“We do blame ourselves for having entered the city,” he said. “I had said that I would not enter the capital unless conditions were 100% favourable.”

Libya has been engulfed in political turmoil since a NATO-backed uprising toppled and killed longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi in 2011. The oil-rich country has been split between rival administrations in the east and west, each supported by different militias and foreign governments.

Bashagha, a former interior minister and air force pilot, was named prime minister by the country’s east-based parliament in February.

But Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah, who is based in Tripoli in the country’s west, has refused to step down, insisting he will hand over power only to an elected government.

Bashagha said he doubts his rival can unite the country and organize orderly voting, claiming Dbeibah does not command enough loyalty outside of the capital. He said he believes Dbeibah will only be able to hold elections in Tripoli, adding that his own government is looking at holding nationwide elections within the next 14 months.

Caroline Finnegan

A professionnal journalist for the past ten years, I cover global news and economic affairs for The Chief Observer.

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