Libya's Dbeibah government 'will be the last transitional stage' in country

Prime Minister of the National Unity Government tells World Government Summit his cabinet is ready to hold a nationwide vote

Libya's Prime Minister Abdulhamid Dbeibah has called for fair laws electoral laws "that are not tailored for any group".  AFP
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The Prime Minister of one of Libya's rival governments has said he expects his administration to be the last before nationwide elections take place in the country.

Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah, speaking at the World Government Summit in Dubai on Wednesday, said his government supported elections and would pass control to whomever the future elected parliament chose to lead.

“We [the National Unity government] will be the last transitional stage in Libya,” he told the summit.

“We will go to the next stage, which is the constitutional basis for organising elections, and then they will begin. We are ready to hold elections in accordance with the constitution.

He called for “fair laws that are not tailored for any group”.

“We will be the first government to hand over to whomever the new parliament chooses and whoever it chooses as president of the country,” Mr Dbeibah added.

He did not specify when the elections will take place.

Libya has gone through turmoil since 2011, when dictator Muammar Qaddafi was overthrown by rebels aided by western air strikes.

The country was plunged into a civil war and has remained divided since.

The Government of National Unity, headed by Mr Dbeibah, is based in Tripoli in western Libya, while the Government of National Stability led by Osama Hammad governs the east of the country.

Mr Dbeibah's comments came on the same day that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi in Libya's neighbour, Egypt.

Turkey is one of the major supporters of the Government of National Unity, while Egypt has backed the rival government in the country's east.

Amid a thawing of relations between the two powers, Mr El Sisi said Egypt looked forward to co-operating with Turkey to bring stability to Libya through legislative and presidential elections.

Mr Dbeibah said that economic and social reforms by his government would help reform and rebuild the war-torn country.

Economic reforms would pump “oxygen back Libya’s body,” he said, pointing to his government's efforts to restore electricity.

“For nearly 10 years, the electricity in Libya was constantly cut off, but we made great efforts to solve this problem and now, it has not been cut off for a single minute for the last year and half,” Mr Al Dbeibah said.

The prime minister also cited his controversial push to end fuel subsidies in Libya and said authorities will instead offer direct cash support to the population.

Libya relies heavily on its oil industry for revenue.

Despite having Africa’s largest crude reserves, a third of Libya’s population lives below the poverty line and parts of the country suffer chronic shortages of petrol and gas due to inadequate investment in pipelines and refining capabilities.

Its major oilfields have been closed by protests in recent months, which have hit the country's oil production.

Libyans also vented their fury last year after floods destroyed much of the town of Derna and killed at least 4,600 people.

The Libyan Public Prosecution Authority said it found that “negligence” led to the collapse of the Bilad and Sidi Bou Mansour dams above the coastal city following heavy rains brought by a hurricane.

Many Libyans also blamed divisions within government for what they saw as an inadequate response to the disaster.

Updated: February 14, 2024, 5:30 PM