Acting Libyan Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Mohammed Dbeibah returned to office on Thursday after the election was canceled last week, casting doubts on the future of the war-torn North African country.
Dbeibah led a Cabinet meeting on Thursday, marking his return to the post.
The election was supposed to be the culmination of United Nations efforts to lift Libya out of a decade of conflict since the 2011 revolt against dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
But it has been derailed by bitter disputes over divisive candidates – Dbeibah one of them – and a contested legal framework.
Dbeibah, a business tycoon, took leave as head of a unity government to stand for election. Its administration is based in the capital Tripoli and has been tasked with leading the North African country to the polls.
The term of the interim government was theoretically due to end on December 24, but the UK embassy in Tripoli said in a tweet that London “continues to recognize #Government_of_National_Unity as the authority responsible for leading #Libya to #election. and does not endorse the creation of parallel governments or institutions.
A separate joint statement by the UK, France, Germany, Italy and the US on December 24 insisted that “the transfer of power from the current interim executive authority to the new executive authority will take place after the announcement of the results “of the polls. when they arrive.
The parliamentary committee overseeing Monday’s election called for a reshuffle of Dbeibah’s caretaker government and said it would be too risky to set a new date for the ballot.
The committee is part of an assembly based in the eastern city of Tobruk, reflecting the country’s deep divisions.
Dbeibah ran as a candidate in the now deferred vote, even though he had said he would not.
On Thursday, he called the political situation “critical”, but defended his record by saying: “We have worked to restore security and support stability”.
He also urged his ministers to prepare for a “strong recovery” in the economy in 2022.
Years of conflict have ruined infrastructure and left Libya suffering from chronic power cuts and rampant inflation.
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