Libyan Parliament appoints Fathi Bashagha as PM, UN still recognizes Dbeibah
Hours after Libyan interim Prime Minister Abdulhamid Dbeibah survived an assassination attempt in Tripoli, Libyan Parliament appoints Fathi Bashagha as a new premier for the country.
Libya's Parliament voted Thursday unanimously to appoint Fathi Bashagha to head the new government, replacing interim Premier Abdulhamid Dbeibah.
"The House of Representatives unanimously approved Fathi Bashagha to head the government," the Parliament's Spokesperson Abdullah Bliheg said in a tweet.
The move threatens to spark a new power struggle between the eastern-based Assembly and Dbeibah's administration based in Tripoli, in western Libya.
Dbeibah's administration had a mandate to lead the country to elections on December 24, but they were canceled amid bitter divisions over their legal basis and the candidacies of several controversial figures.
Parliament Speaker Aguila Saleh, who like Dbeibah and Bashagha had been a presidential candidate, has since spearheaded efforts to replace the unity government.
The Assembly had considered seven candidates to lead the administration, but shortly before Thursday's confirmation vote, Saleh had announced that Bashagha's only remaining contender, former Interior Ministry official Khaled Al-Bibass, had withdrawn from the race.
In a televised address on Tuesday, Dbeibah had vowed he would "accept no new transitional phase or parallel authority" and declared he would only hand over power to an elected government.
The UN, Western powers, and even some members of Parliament have called for Dbeibah to stay in his role until elections, for which a new date has not yet been set.
Thursday's vote threatens a repeat of a 2014 schism that saw two parallel governments emerge.
UN still recognizes Libya's Dbeibah as PM
The United Nations will continue to support Abdulhamid Dbeibah, Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said Thursday, following the appointment of Bashagha by the country's Parliament.
Asked during a daily press briefing whether the UN continued to recognize Dbeibah as interim Prime Minister, the Spokesperson said, "The short answer is yes."
"It's very important for all Libyan leaders and stakeholders to keep in mind the Libyan people," Dujarric said, adding that the UN's aim was to "help the Libyan people."
"We have seen the reports of the appointment of another prime minister," he said. "Our position remained unchanged."
Dbeibah survives an assassination attempt
A few hours before the Parliament session, Dbeibah survived an assassination attempt in the country's capital, Tripoli, early daybreak Thursday, according to Sputnik.
A high-ranking Libyan government source confirmed to the agency that Dbeibah was subjected to an assassination attack in the center of Tripoli while returning to his home "unharmed".