The Libyan parliament agreed to give confidence to the new government headed by Fathi Bashagha and to exercise its duties in the capital, Tripoli. The new government’s mission extends up to 14 months, during which time it will pave the way for presidential and parliamentary elections, but the outgoing government refused to vote and pledged not to hand over power, which the High Council of State considered a violation of the political agreement, rejecting the steps taken by the Libyan representatives and declaring that they are separate steps.
On Tuesday, March 1, the Libyan House of Representatives voted to grant confidence to the government of Prime Minister Bashagha, which won 92 votes out of a total of 101 representatives who attended the session. House Speaker Aguila Saleh said that after the vote, the parliament finally approved the granting of confidence to the government and announced that it consists of three deputy prime ministers, 29 ministers and six ministers of state.
Regarding the safe handover of the new government, Bashaga said that his government “will take over its duties in the capital, Tripoli, in a peaceful and secure manner. We contacted all the security and military authorities, and we have arrangements with them. The handover process will be smooth and safe without any problem,” stressing that his government is committed to holding the elections on the specified date according to the roadmap approved by the parliament and which will be approved by the High Council of State in the coming days. He noted that his government will work on the principle of participation and cooperation with the House of Representatives and the High Council of State, as well as the Presidential Council.
The mission of the new government will extend for up to 14 months, during which time it will pave the way for presidential and parliamentary elections, and this is a top priority for it.
The new government of Bashagha includes three deputy prime ministers, namely Ali Faraj Ibrahim al-Qatrani, Salem Maatouk Mohamed al-Zadma, and Khaled Ali Mohamed al-Osta. The list of ministers includes Hafez Abdel Hamid Kaddour as Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hamid Hamad Ali Houma as Minister of Defense, Khaled Masoud Abd Rabbo as Minister of Justice, Essam Mohamed Abu Zreiba as Minister of the Interior, Osama Saad Hammad Saleh as Minister of Planning, Othman Abdul Jalil Mohamed as Minister of Health, and Jomaa Khalifa Mohamed al-Jadid as Minister of Education.
Observers of Libyan affairs believe that the idea of an armed conflict between Bashagha and former Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dabaiba is completely excluded, expecting that Dabaiba will step aside before the government, especially since Bashagha took into account the geographical division of choosing his government. They indicated that it is expected that Bashagha will start his work from Sirte temporarily until the situation calms down and Dabaiba leaves Tripoli, although constitutionally Bashagha is now the head of government and responsible for the country’s interests, and that the task will not be easy, especially in light of the many challenges that the country is going through politically, economically and socially.
Against the political agreement
On the other hand, the High Council of State considered granting the House of Representatives confidence to a new government is in violation of the political agreement, rejecting the steps taken by the parliament and noting that they are separate steps. It announced the holding of a session to take the necessary measures towards what it described as violations, stressing that the continued closure of the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court is a crime of denial of justice.
Meanwhile, the Government of National Unity (GNU) headed by Dabaiba considered the parliament session that granted confidence to the Bashagha government as confirmation of the parliament’s continued practice of fraud to issue the decision by fabricated methods.
During the statement issued by the Dabaiba government, it said, “The Libyans continued to falsify the count, which was clear with the peremptory evidence on the screen, as the count did not reach the quorum specified by the Council to gain confidence, despite the lack of clarity in the image of the trustees,” noting that a number of members of the House of Representatives denied their presence in Tobruk despite being counted among the count that did not even reach the quorum, as the Dabaiba government confirmed in several previous statements regarding the continuation of its work and that it will not be concerned with this mess and will focus its efforts on completing the elections on time in June.
“The path of fraud in the presidency of the parliament has begun since it passed the withdrawal of confidence from the government by the same mechanism and its selection of a prime minister without a quorum. Moreover, all of these procedures were carried out in violation of the political agreement, which stipulated clear mechanisms in the procedures for constitutional amendment and the formation of the executive authority, which were unilateral measures that brought the country back to the stage of division,” the statement added.
For her part, Advisor to the United Nations Secretary-General for Libyan Affairs, Stephanie Williams, reiterated the importance of consensus and inclusiveness in the complex political environment in Libya, stressing during her meeting with some Berber representatives in Libya prior to the session of the House of Representatives that there is a need to move forward in meeting the people’s demands to hold elections through free and credible elections based on a sound constitutional basis and consensual electoral laws.
All of these changes come after the failure of the Libyan political parties and leaders to hold presidential and parliamentary elections that were scheduled to start at the end of last December due to differences over the constitutional rule regulating the elections.