Middle East

Libyan unity government fuels chaos: Analysts

An announcement by Libya’s UN-backed unity government that it will assume power despite lacking parliamentary recognition has sparked fears of further divisions in the Arab country. 

Libya has had two rival governments since the ouster and subsequent killing of strongman Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. 

Late last year, Libya’s rival parliaments signed a UN-sponsored agreement to form a unity government in an effort to resolve the five-year conflict in the country. 

However, the Tobruk-based parliament has failed to vote on the unity government, formed by Fayez al-Sarraj, the prime minister-designate and a former member of the Tripoli-based parliament. 

Last week, the Tunis-based Presidential Council, which produced the unity government, called on Libyan institutions to begin a transfer of authority to the unity cabinet. 

The council also called on the international community to stop dealing with any rival powers in Libya. 

“This move will deepen divisions among Libyan rivals,” Layla Abu Taleb, a professor of political sciences, told Anadolu Agency on Thursday. “Instead of having two rival governments, we will now have three governments.” 

Abu Taleb criticized the Tobruk-based parliament for failing to convene to approve the unity government. 

“This has further complicated the situation in Libya and aggravated the suffering of the Libyans, who view the unity government as their only way-out of their crisis,” she said. 

– International support 

Libyan politician Farid Yassin opines that international support has encouraged the unity government to move to assume power despite lacking parliamentary recognition. 

“Though the unity government was not approved by the Tobruk-based parliament, all countries have backed it, given that more than 100 Libyan MPs have showed their support for the government,” he said. 

In its statement, the Presidential Council said the unlimited support by the majority of lawmakers was a “green-light for the unity government to assume power.” 

Speaker of the Tobruk-based parliament Aguila Saleh, for his part, said the unity government’s move to assume power without parliamentary approval was “illegitimate”. 

He said the move violates the UN-backed agreement between the Libyan rivals. 

Saleh, however, called on the parliament to convene to vote on the proposed cabinet’s lineup. 

The UN-backed agreement calls for a one-year transitional phase to last until elections can be held. Under the agreement, the unity government will run the country’s affairs during the transitional period.

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