The speaker of Libya’s eastern-based parliament said on Monday that the house will select a new interim prime minister the following week, but the present leader rejected the idea.
Aguila Saleh, the speaker, said that parliament would vote on a new prime minister on Feb. 8 to replace Abdulhamid al-Dbeibah, the president of the Government of National Unity (GNU) that was formed last year through a U.N.-backed process.
Dbeibah told Reuters that Saleh was engaged in a “desperate endeavor to revive divisiveness,” and that the GNU will continue to operate until fresh elections were conducted.
Political manoeuvring has intensified among factions and leaders from across Libya’s fragmented political spectrum since last month’s failed presidential election, with the fate of a fragile peace process hanging in the balance.
Many Libyans fear a dispute over the interim government could derail any new attempt to hold national elections or trigger major fighting among rival factions after 18 months of comparative calm.
Libya was ruled by rival administrations running parallel states in east and west from 2014 until Dbeibah’s government was installed last year through a U.N.-backed process.
Western countries have said they will continue to recognize the GNU and have urged a new push for elections. The U.N. special adviser to Libya has said elections should be the priority rather than a new transitional government.
Saleh said in parliament on Monday that he opposed what he termed foreign interference in Libya.
More than a decade after the 2011 NATO-backed uprising against Muammar Gaddafi, Libya remains without a clear constitution or universally accepted rules governing its politics.
Last month’s election process collapsed amid factional disputes over basic issues including the eligibility of several leading candidates for president.
Its existing institutions, including the parliament, date from earlier transitional periods that many Libyans say are long outdated.