Bashagha: Dbeibah’s government is “illegitimate“

Libya’s newly appointed government of Fathi Bashagha

Libya’s newly appointed government of Fathi Bashagha, plans to step into office in the capital “in the next few days,” he told AFP.

In May, Bashagha arrived in the capital Tripoli and attempted to take office there, sparking pre-dawn clashes between armed groups supporting him and those backing his rival Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh.

He backed down, he told AFP, to avoid bloodshed, but says he has since received “positive invitations” to enter the capital.

“All the roads are open into Tripoli and God willing we’ll be there in the coming days,” he said in an interview Friday, speaking via Zoom from his temporary base in the central city of Sirte.

“Some armed forces have changed their position and have nothing against us entering the capital.”

Bashagha argues that today, Dbeibah’s government is “illegitimate”.

“Its mandate is over and it failed to make elections happen,” he said.

For elections to take place, he added, “the only condition is that Libya only has one government. Two governments is not acceptable.”

“I believe these popular demands are legitimate and the protests will continue after Eid,” Bashagha said, referring to the Islamic holiday of Eid Al-Adha, which started on Saturday.

Dbeibah’s government has blamed the power cuts partly on fuel shortages caused by a blockade of key oil installations in Libya’s east, by groups demanding Dbeibah’s departure and a handover to Bashagha’s government. However, the latter insisted there was “no link”.

Once residents of the “Oil Crescent” region are “reassured that the revenues will not go to corruption, or theft or to other places, they will lift the siege on the oil exports”, he said.

The UN has been critical of the way Bashagha’s administration was appointed, but Bashagha called on the world body “to adopt solutions that work for Libyans rather than just for the states that are interfering in Libya”.

“We’ve succeeded in avoiding any military confrontation but Libya can’t stay like this forever,” he added. “There has to be a solution.”

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