Libyan Prime Minister Fathi Bashagha on Thursday said that he would go into Tripoli in the next few days without resorting to force.
Bashagha was appointed by the eastern-based parliament in February to lead a new transitional government after the electoral process collapsed and the parliament declared Abdulhamid al-Dbeibah’s government to be defunct. The move was met with opposition from other factions.
Bashagha is expected to rule during the period leading up to elections next year.
“We have direct contacts with the Libyan west, with Tripoli, the political elite and the leaders of the battalions and some societal figures.
“God willing, the government will be able to carry out its duties in Tripoli in the coming days,” Bashagha said in an interview in Tunis.
Al-Dbeibah who was appointed interim prime minister a year ago in a UN-supported procedure refused to hand over power to Bashagha. He remains ensconced in the capital, Tripoli backed by some armed groups.
Three weeks ago, Bashagha tried to get into Tripoli with a big armed convoy but involuntarily retreated when soldiers associated with Dbeibah blocked the roads into the capital.
This caused Libya to be stuck in a political stalemate with both governments saying they are legitimate.
There are fears of new fighting or a territorial division between them as the North African country has seen little to no peace since a NATO-backed rebellion against Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 that split the country in 2014 between warring eastern and western factions who supported opposing regimes.
The U.N. and Western countries have been trying to revive the failed election. The U.N. wants members from the parliament and another legislative body, the High State Council, to meet and agree a legal and constitutional basis for a vote.
Bashagha said he hoped Parliament which has not yet joined those talks 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.