Libya’s prime minister-designate proposes unity government

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Libya’s designated Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh

Libyan Prime Minister-designate Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh has proposed a unity government of 27 members, his office says, the latest effort made in an attempt to heal a years-long bloody division in the country.

“The government’s priorities will include improving services, unifying state institutions, and ending the transitional period by holding elections,” said Dbeibeh’s office said in a statement on Saturday, Turkey's state news agency Anadolu reported.

Libya has been grappling with unchecked violence since the overthrow, and later killing, of dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 during an operation backed by NATO.

Since 2014, two rival seats of power have emerged in Libya, namely the UN-recognized government - known as the Government of National Accord (GNA) - based in the capital Tripoli, and another camp based in the eastern city of Tobruk, backed militarily by the so-called Libyan National Army (LNA), composed of armed rebel forces led by renegade General Khalifa Haftar.

The country descended into unprecedented chaos last year after the LNA moved toward Tripoli to seize the city. They were repelled by government forces.

The conflict has escalated into a regional proxy war fueled by foreign powers pouring weapons and mercenaries into the country.

Dbeibeh, who was chosen through a UN-facilitated process early last month, will serve in his post until elections are held on December 24.

The lineup of his cabinet will be debated for a vote of confidence by the Tobruk-based House of Representatives (parliament) in the coastal city of Sirte on Monday, the report added.

Dbeibeh’s new interim government is meant to replace both existing administrations in Libya. He has pledged not to stand for office in December’s vote.

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