Armed Groups in West Libya Reject Prime Minister Appointment

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On Saturday, 65 battalions and armed groups in Misrata rejected the Libyan House of Representatives (HoR)’s decision to appoint Fathi Bashagha as Prime Minister and to vote on amending the constitutional declaration.

They also accused the Parliament of taking unilateral decisions regarding political and constitutional affairs.

In a statement, the vast majority of Misrata’s armed groups described the steps taken by the HoR as a “political farce.”

They also said that the decision represents a manipulation of the country’s political affairs away from what was agreed up in all previous agreements. These agreements stipulate that no political decisions, especially constitutional ones, are taken except after the approval of the HoR and the High Council of State (HCS).

The statement clarified that the Parliament violated all the understandings agreed upon in the Geneva dialogues, warning all parties not to prejudice the agreed political path to preserve the civil state and the peaceful transfer of power.

On Thursday, the Speaker of the Libyan Parliament, Ageela Saleh announced that they have unanimously appointed Fathi Bashagha as the new Prime Minister. He is set to replace the current Prime Minister of the Government of National Unity (GNU), Abdelhamid Al-Dbaiba.

“The Parliament voted unanimously to give confidence to Fathi Bashagha as the Head of government,” parliamentary Spokesman, Abdullah Blaiheg said after a session in the eastern city of Tobruk.

The Parliament selected two candidates out of a total of seven: Fathi Bashagha and Khaled Al-Bibass a former senior official in the same Ministry.

However, in a speech Al-Dbaiba said that he would not hand over power until after elections. “Only elections will end the transitional stages,” he claimed.

Observers fear that Libya will return to having two opposing governments, given Al-Dbaiba’s refusal to cede power to a rival government.

Libya has been engulfed by a political crisis since the fall of long-time leader Moammar Gaddafi’s regime in 2011 with rivalries between the main regions, power struggles, and foreign interference.