Libya’s divided parliament has voted in support of a unity government which would lead the war-ravaged country into December elections.
The parliamentary approval of Prime Minister Abdulhamid Dbeibah’s cabinet took place after a two-day session in the war-battered frontline city of Sirte on Wednesday.
Dbeibah’s proposed government includes two deputy prime ministers, 26 ministers and six ministers of state.
“This will be the government of all Libyans,” the interim premier said in a brief speech after the vote.
“Thank you for putting the nation's interest above all else.”
The interim administration emerged through a UN peace process as part of a plan to resolve a decade of conflict, with elections set for December.
Dbeibah, along with three members of a presidency council also selected in the Swiss city of Geneva, has promised not to seek further office in the elections.
However, the manner of Dbeibah's own appointment has drawn criticism in Libya with accusations of corruption and influence peddling.
The United Nations mission has praised leaders for the “patriotic efforts that led to this landmark moment in the history of Libya.”
“Libya has now a genuine opportunity to move forward towards unity, stability, prosperity, reconciliation and to restore fully its sovereignty.”
The interim prime minister now faces challenges.
Holding free parliamentary and presidential elections under such circumstances in 2021 will be an immense task.
Since 2015, Libya has been divided between the internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli and lawmakers in Tobruk, allied to renegade military commander Khalifa Haftar.
The front lines in Sirte stabilized last summer after the GNA pushed Haftar's eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA) back from Tripoli.
Elsewhere in his remarks, Dbeibah called for the departure of some 20,000 foreign fighters present in the country, adding that he would coordinate with the fighters’ countries of origin to arrange for their withdrawal.
“The mercenaries are a stab in our back – they must leave,” Dbeibah said. “Our sovereignty is violated by their presence.”