Increasing support for new Libyan interim government to replace the GNU


Published on Monday, 4 September 2023 Back to articles

GNU foreign minister Najla el-Mangoush sacked for meeting Israeli counterpart Eli Cohen in Rome

The massive public outcry over Foreign Minister Najla el-Mangoush’s August meeting in Rome with her Israeli counterpart Eli Cohen has led to Prime Minister Abdelhamid  Dbeibah’s political opponents to reiterate the necessity of replacing his incumbent Government of National Unity (GNU) with a new interim administration to supervise the elections. 

During its 25 August session in Benghazi the House of Representatives restated its demand for the earliest possible creation of a new government. It recommended that the Joint Electoral Committee (a.k.a. 6+6 Committee) — established by the House and the High Council of the State (HCS) — emphasise that anyone found to have communicated with Israel should not be eligible to run for public office. 

The House’s statement stressed the need for a joint House-HCS committee to form a mini-government in cooperation with the UN Special Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) tasked with leading the country towards elections, and called on the Libyan people to insist on the formation of a new government as soon as possible.

Dbeibah’s eastern and western Libyan adversaries accuse him of contradicting Libyan political ideas and principles in order to gain international support. However, his ability to stay in office will depend on the continuing support of Tripoli’s militia leaders. The Rome meeting has weakened the GNU and consolidated the demands for a new interim administration. The recent Tripoli clashes have exposed its inability to maintain long-term security and stability in those areas under its control. Dbeibah has unsuccessfully been trying to convince the population of his innocence and this has seriously weakened his chances of winning the election. Militias which have previously supported the GNU will start to turn against Dbeibah when they realise that he is certain to lose. His attempts to convince everyone that he had nothing to do with the Rome meeting appear to be failing so his chances of winning are now very slim.

Dbeibah may be more concerned about UNSMIL and international stakeholders because foreign diplomats and the UNSMIL’s head, Abdoulaye Bathily, have confirmed the need for a new government. Bathily reconfirmed this when he met the Presidential Council head, Mohamed al-Menfi, on the 30 August followed by his latest meeting with House speaker, Aguila Saleh, on 2 September. Similarly, on 30 August, the US Ambassador to Libya, Richard Norland, indicated the advantage of an interim technocrat government whose sole function would be to lead the country to elections. The fact that he indicated that it should be negotiated with everyone — including the GNU, House of Representatives, HCS, Presidential Council, and Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan Arab Armed Forces (LAAF) — will not please Dbeibah. Norland stressed that the election roadmap must determine both who can stand as candidates and the composition of the interim government that will lead Libya to free, fair and transparent elections. 

This excerpt is taken from our Libya Politics & Security weekly intelligence report. Click here to receive a free sample copy. Contact for subscription details.

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