Econostrum | Economic News in the Mediterranean

Sirte becomes the new capital of Libya's parallel government

Written by Frédéric Dubessy on Thursday, May 12th 2022 à 15:45 | Read 2902 times

Fathi Bachagha calls on all parties and civil society organisations to engage in a dialogue with him to get out of the institutional crisis that is undermining Libya with two rival prime ministers in office.

Fathi Bachagha reaches out to all parties by proposing a national dialogue (photo: DR)
Fathi Bachagha reaches out to all parties by proposing a national dialogue (photo: DR)
LIBYA. In a speech on 5 May 2022, Fathi Bachagha announced his intention to establish his government in the city of Sirte. Since his appointment as Prime Minister of Libya by the Tobruk Parliament in February 2022, he was trying to settle in Tripoli where the government of Abdel Hamid Dbeibah is already based, but he does not intend to give up his position.

On Tuesday 10 May 2022, the Parliament officially approved the choice of the transfer of Fathi Bachagha. The deputies will soon meet in this city located on the Mediterranean coast to symbolize their support for this approach.

The institutional crisis will not be solved for all that. Only real presidential elections - already postponed twice - and especially legislative elections, will be able to decide between the two men.

The departure of Fathi Bachagha is a clear recognition of his inability to really take power in Tripoli without aggravating the conflict between the East and West of the country and thus reopening the wound of the division of Libya not yet healed after ten years of fighting. Sirte is a symbol. A bastion of the supporters of Muammar Gaddafi during the first civil war in 2011 (it is also the birthplace and deathplace of the "Guide of the Revolution"), a former showcase of the Islamic State in 2015, it then represented the frontline between pro-government and jihadist forces in 2016.

"A desire to unify all efforts"

The decision to "go into exile" here, however, brings the not inconsiderable advantage of finding a place, in the centre of the country, that is more serene, far from the political turmoil of Tripoli, and allows the impasse of controlling the capital to be broken. Sirte "has no tensions or hostilities with other Libyan cities", Fathi Bachagha stressed.

The new Prime Minister also launched a national dialogue initiative on Tuesday 10 May 2022 in Derna (the former capital of Cyrenaica in the east of the country) during a press conference. It intends "to broaden the scope of communication and participation with everyone", he said. He envisages it to preserve Libyan sovereignty, prevent foreign interference and achieve the aspirations of the Libyan people in holding elections.

Fathi Bachagha said that this proposal "reflects a desire to unify all efforts and prepare a construction phase" and aims to "agree on certain national values and principles", and, in particular, to allow cooperation of all in the fight against corruption and stop wasting public money to revive the national economy and improve services to citizens.

He insists that "the government is reaching out to all currents, parties, political blocs and civil society organisations" and says it is ready "to open talks and dialogue with the leaders of the military formations to bridge the gap of disagreement with some, dispel fears and clarify its programme to others."

Under the aegis of the UN, discussions began in late April 2022 in Cairo between representatives of the Libyan Parliament and High State Council to reach agreement on the organization of future elections.

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