Libya: Parallel government sworn in

Libya: Parallel government sworn in

A parallel government installed by Libya’s parliament and seeking to oust the ruling executive in Tripoli was sworn in Thursday, plunging the country into an institutional crisis reminiscent of the darkest hours of the civil war.

The parliamentary-appointed prime minister, Fathi Bachagha, and part of his team were sworn in before MPs in Tobruk, in the east of the country.

Already plagued by divisions between competing institutions in the east and west, Libya has been left with two rival governments after parliament approved a new executive on Tuesday headed by Mr. Bachagha, a former interior minister.

He is challenging the existing cabinet in Tripoli led by Abdelhamid Dbeibah, who refuses to relinquish power until parliamentary elections are held, which he has announced for June.

Mr. Bachagha accused his rival of trying to obstruct the swearing-in ceremony by suspending air traffic from Tripoli to prevent members of the new government from travelling to Tobruk and by having some of them detained by a loyal armed group.

He said three designated ministers were missing after being detained by a pro-Dbeibah armed group. “This is a cowardly act,” he said.

A fourth cabinet member, the Minister of Economy and Trade, Jamal Salem Chaaban, announced his resignation shortly before the ceremony, denouncing a “lack of transparency and respect for procedure” during the vote of confidence.

“Being part of this government that is bringing war and destruction to the capital is not an honor,” he said in a video broadcast by local media.

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