Panafrican News Agency

Libyan newspaper looks for options in power struggle between rival governments

Tripoli, Libya (PANA) - The existence of two rival governments in Libya, after the adoption by Parliament of a new cabinet headed by former Interior Minister Fathi Bachagha, is returning the country to the atmosphere of tension, notes the Al-Wasat newspaper.

It focused on the possibilities, in the context of the firm commitment of the incumbent Government of National Unity (GNU) of Prime Minister Abdelhamid al-Dbaiba to hand over power only to an elected authority.

Under the headline: "Possibilities open for a power struggle between the two governments", the newspaper points out that fears of a slide towards internal conflicts have begun to haunt many Libyans after the vote of confidence for Bachagha and his government.

In further evidence of his persistence in rejecting the recent decisions of Parliament, the Libyan weekly newspaper, published in Cairo, Egypt, reports that Mr. al-Dbaiba accused the Speaker of Parliament, Aguila Saleh, of "forgery and fraud" after the offence of not having a quorum in the parliamentary session.

He described the session as an "episode of the black comedy", which forms "the latest plot to postpone the elections".

During the plenary last Tuesday, the result of the vote was proclaimed as 92 votes in favour out of the 101 MPs present. But it was held in confused circumstances, against the backdrop of accusations by some that the votes of deputies who were absent from the session were counted.

Among the accusations of questioning the validity of the voting session, the newspaper cited deputies who were not present but votes were cast for them, while the quorum of 88 members was not attained, since only 78 MPs were present. It said some deputies gave their confidence to the government by phone calls, and their names were not mentioned during the session for fear of their safety.

Thus, Mr Bachagha's government won the confidence of the House of Representatives with 92 votes out of a total of 101 MPs who attended the plenary session, according to Saleh's claims quoted by Al-Wasat newspaper.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a statement that he had been following with concern the parliament's plenary, which "failed to meet the expected standards of transparency and procedure, and resulted in acts of intimidation prior to the session".

Observers of the Libyan issue question whether the handover of the seat of government in Tripoli to Mr Bachagha as part of the handover of services will go smoothly, and if it does not, will he have to resort to other methods, legal proceedings or the possibility of using force?

The newspaper said that this is reminiscent of the conditions under which the previous Government of National Accord (GNA) led by Fayez al-Sarraj, started operating from the Abu Setta naval base in Tripoli, in response to the refusal of the then Prime Minister of the parallel government, Khalifa al-Ghweil, to step down.

Parliament, through its spokesperson Abdallah Blihak, vowed that "al-Dbaiba will be deterred if he decides to establish a parallel government".

In the meantime, the newspaper said many possibilities remain open, citing the presence of armed formations in Tripoli, pointing to their divided positions towards the two camps fighting for power.

The newspaper said that the most important test for Bachagha is to be able to resist until the holding of elections. THis should be in addition to the tasks of resolving the main issues, including national reconciliation, expulsion of mercenaries, and dealing with the economic crises and living conditions suffered by citizens.

It said that it seems that each side is confident in its ability to resist by betting on its supporters inside the country and abroad.

Bachagha's government has caused a division between supporters and opponents among the military and security forces in the western region, the newspaper said, adding that some of them have called on the Presidential Council, as supreme commander of the army, to dissolve parliament and call for elections.

These armed groups said, in reference to Bachagha's government, that "giving power to a parallel government is tantamount to giving power to those who rose up against the state and waged war against the capital by giving them sovereign ministries".

Al-Wasat newspaper reported that in light of this, the UN is closely monitoring what happened after the vote of confidence in Bachagha's government.

It has called on Libyans to calm down, maintain stability and avoid incitement to violence and hate speech.

In the midst of all this, Libyans are waiting for what the developments of the next few days will bring, the newspaper concluded.

It indicated that the situation is open to many possibilities, against the backdrop of the persistent apprehension that things are heading towards the worst scenarios, foremost among which is the recourse of the candidates for power to armed conflict to settle the issue.

However, since Friday, a fresh initiative has emerged. The UN Secretary-General's Special Adviser on Libya, Ms. Stephanie Williams on Friday sent to Parliament and the High Council of State a proposal to form a 12-member joint committee, aiming to establish a consensual constitutional basis for holding elections as soon as possible.

According to the ' proposal, which has attracted support both inside and outside Libya, the committee will be composed of six members from each side. It will meet on 15 March to work for a fortnight to establish the constitutional rule.

-0- PANA BY/JSG/BBA/MA 5March2022