Leaders and revolutionaries of the force supporting the Libyan army on Saturday condemned the election of Fathi Bashagha as head of the new government, a move that runs the risk of sparking a new power struggle in the war-torn nation.
In a statement read in Martyrs Square in the capital Tripoli, they said the supporting force denounces "the state of absurdity that contradicts the outcomes of the political dialogue forum and wants the country to enter a new transitional stage."
Decisions taken in the House of Representatives (HoR) in its last meeting in Tobruk were not "in accordance with fair and transparent procedures," they said.
They voiced "strong support for parliamentary elections, the referendum on the constitution and presidential elections as soon as possible," according to the statement.
The High Council of State (HCS) head Khalid al-Mishri, on the other hand, said Bashagha's designation replacing Dbeibah flowed from the text following "a rare consensus" between parliamentary bodies on Saturday.
HCS, a Tripoli-based body that is equivalent to a senate, usually rivals the HoR, based in Tobruk.
The parliament in eastern Libya named Bashagha the country’s new prime minister on Thursday.
Incumbent Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah, however, rejected the move, vowing to remain in his post until national elections are held.
Both Bashagha and Dbeibah have the support of rival armed groups in the Libyan capital. The position of the United Nations and major powers will be critical in determining the outcome of the struggle over the interim government after years of foreign involvement in the conflict. The U.N. has continued to support Dbeibah after the house's vote. However, the U.N. said on Friday that Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has taken note of the move by parliament to appoint Bashagha, and a move by parliament along with the HCS to chart out a revised path toward elections.
Stephanie Williams, the U.N. special adviser on Libya, said free and fair elections in Libya should be held "in the shortest possible time," as she met both Dbeibah and Bashagha.
Libya’s polls were scheduled on Dec. 24 but were postponed because of disagreements among political rivals. No new date for the vote has been agreed to as of yet.
Libyans hope the elections will help end the armed conflict that has plagued the oil-rich country for years.