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Libya Continues to Have Two Prime Ministers and Increased Risk of Instability

Libya plunged into chaos after an uprising in 2011 toppled the regime of the long-time dictator, Moammar Gaddafi. An analysis written by Omar Hammady has claimed that for years it has been split between rival administrations in the east and the west, each supported by an array of militias and foreign governments. Most recently, Libya can see a continuation of this due to continuously postponing elections that were originally meant to take place in December 2021.

Libya is at a higher risk of seeing two rival administrations if it does not allow its people to take a vote. The fight for legitimacy in Libya is continuing between two men who are both labelling themselves as the current Prime Ministers of Libya, Fathi Bashagha and Abdul Hamid Al-Dbeibah. The country’s east based house of representatives named former interior minister, Bashagha as the Prime Minister, to lead an interim government in February. However, Dbeibah continues to claim his mandate is yet to expire and hold the seat of Prime Minister.

The Men who want Libya:

Abdul Hamid Al-Dbeibah:

A Libyan politician and businessman who is currently the Prime Minister of Libya’s interim government of National Unity. During the early period of his business career, he was appointed as the head of the Libyan Investment and Development Company, a major construction firm responsible for some of the country’s biggest public works projects. He was also involved with politics as a trusted person of the ruling Arab Socialist Union. In 2020, he founded Libya al-Mustaqbal (Libya’s future) and was described as an independent. His government is the first unified government in Libya since 2014 and has continued to appeal for a truly national movement to push for elections.

Fathi Bashagha:

A Libyan politician who also claims to be the interim Prime Minister of Libya. He was previously the minister of interior of the government of Accord. His early life included him becoming a trainer pilot specializing in fighter jets, which he quit in 1993 to set up commercial firms. In 2011, he joined the Military Council as Head of the information and coordinate department, then as spokesman for the Misrata Military Council. He was elected in 2014 to the House of Representatives, which is no longer recognized internationally.  


The Impact of having 2 Prime Ministers on Libya:


Libya’s opposing politicians are shown to have more in common than differences, as they share a common idea of continuously postponing the elections. The failure to carry out elections falls under two reasons, the first being opposing opinions towards elections, and the second being the framework for the elections.


The fight for legitimacy between Libya’s elites is proving to be a risk for the stability of Libya, as rival administrations continue to hold power in the east and the west, causing further disintegration. It has gone unnoticed that 2.8 million Libyans have registered to vote to avoid the instability Libya is moving towards once more. The only certainty for Libyans is that there is a risk that the political confrontation will cause the country to plunge into a state of conflict, resulting in a repetition of 2011. Instead of holding on to the hopes of progressing towards one legitimate government that can finally stabilize the country, Libyans are once again hostage to a showdown between two centres of power.


< References >

Foreign Policy, February 18th, 2022, ‘What went wrong with Libya’s failed Elections’

UNwarns Libya could be divided again, urges 2022 elections', E. Lederer, ABC news


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Tags: #CivilWar #Libya #dbeibah #bashagha #Northafrica


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