Libya’s lawmakers push for new PM after failing to hold vote
CAIRO (AP) — Libyan lawmakers pushed ahead Monday with plans to appoint a new transitional government, more than a month after the country failed to hold its first presidential election.
Candidates may submit their bids for the post of prime minister, said Abdullah Bliheg, a spokesman for the legislature. He said parliament will convene next week for deliberations on the candidates and the appointment of a new prime minister to lead the transitional government.
The parliament’s move to replace Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah and his government is likely to fuel tensions between rival factions in the chaos-stricken country.
The effort to replace Dbeibah stems from Libya’s failure to hold its first presidential election on his watch. Originally scheduled for Dec. 24, the vote was postponed in a major blow to international efforts to end a decade of chaos in the oil-rich Mediterranean nation.
Bliheg spoke following a parliamentary session Monday in the eastern city of Tobruk. He said a new prime minister will be appointed after consultations with the High State Council, an advisory body based in the capital, Tripoli.
There was no immediate comment from the current government but Dbeibah has repeatedly said he and his government would remain in power until “real elections” are held. He has also called for the vote to be held based on a newly crafted constitution.
The parliament’s push to appoint a new prime minister challenges an appeal from the U.N. and Western governments for lawmakers to focus their efforts on resolving obstacles that led to the vote’s postponement, rather than appointing a new administration.
“What Libyans have clearly said that they want to go to the ballot box and choose their government, a democratically government representing the entire Libya,” Stephanie Williams, the U.N. adviser on Libya, said earlier this month.
Dbeibah was named prime minister in February last year and his government’s main task was to steer the deeply divided country toward national reconciliation and lead it through elections. The vote has faced many deep-rooted challenges, which remain unsolved, hindering renewed U.N.-led efforts to reschedule the election for June. Those challenges include controversial candidates and disputed laws governing elections as well as the deep mistrust between rival factions.
Holding the election is still the lynchpin of international efforts to bring peace to the oil-rich North African nation.
Libya has been wrecked by chaos since a NATO-backed uprising toppled then killed longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi in 2011. The country had for years split between rival administrations in the east and the west, each is supported by militias and foreign governments.