Reuters said on Thursday that the Libyan Prime Minister-designate, Fathi Bashagha, who was appointed by the Tobruk-based House of Representatives (HoR) this month, expects to take over government in Tripoli in the coming days without using force, despite repetitive rejections of power handover by his rival, Abdul Hamid Dbeibah, who heads the UN-brokered Government of National Unity (GNU).
Bashagha said in a Reuters interview in Tunisia that his government has direct contacts with the Libyan west, with Tripoli, the political elite and the leaders of the battalions and some societal figures, adding that: “God willing, the government will be able to carry out its duties in Tripoli in the coming days.”
Bashagha has repeatedly said he will not use force to enter the capital and told Reuters: “Our arrival in Tripoli and the government headquarters will be completely peaceful”, adding that there were indications from inside Libya and internationally that he would be able to take over in Tripoli and that Dbeibah’s government was not able to operate outside the Libyan capital.
In the meantime, Bashagha said Turkish forces in Libya, invited by the previous Tripoli government, headed by Fayez Al-Sarraj, but whose presence is rejected by the eastern factions backed by the HoR, were in the country legally.
“Any military presence is governed by an agreement… we can control it and we can ask these forces to cancel the agreement or leave Libya,” Bashagha said.
The UN, meanwhile, had been pushing for elections sooner and wanted members from the HoR and another legislative body, the High Council of State, to meet and agree a legal and constitutional basis for a vote.
The HoR has not yet joined those talks, but Bashagha said he hoped the HoR would send members to the talks to resolve the issues and that he expected elections to take place between 12 or 16 months from now.