Libyan PM says he will defy parliament move to replace him

Libyan Prime Minister Abdulhamid al-Dbeibah announces election bid in Tripoli
Libyan Prime Minister Abdulhamid al-Dbeibah speaks after submitting his candidacy papers for the upcoming presidential election at the headquarters of the electoral commission in Tripoli, Libya November 21, 2021. REUTERS/Hazem Ahmed/File Photo

TRIPOLI, Feb 8 (Reuters) - Libya's interim Prime Minister Abdulhamid al-Dbeibah said he would defy a planned vote in parliament to replace him on Thursday, raising the prospect of two rival governments running in parallel.

Dbeibah has repeatedly said the transitional Government of National Unity (GNU) that he heads remains valid despite the collapse in December of a planned election process, and has rejected moves by the parliament to take control of it.

"I will not allow new transitional periods. We will not retreat from our role in government that we pledged to the people until elections are achieved," Dbeibah said in a speech on Tuesday.

At stake is a U.N.-backed peace process including a ceasefire that has held since summer 2020, with rival armed forces mobilising in Tripoli over recent weeks.

The parliament, which was elected in 2014 and mostly sided with eastern forces during the civil war, has called the GNU invalid and on Monday adopted a new roadmap including a new interim government before elections next year.

The U.N. Libya adviser and Western powers have said they still recognise the GNU and have urged Libya's competing factions and political institutions to prioritise early elections rather than a new transitional period.

Libya has had little peace or stability since the 2011 NATO-backed uprising against Muammar Gaddafi and was split after 2014 between warring camps in east and west, each with its own government.

Dbeibah was installed as prime minister through a U.N.-backed peace process on the understanding his government would oversee the run-up to presidential and parliamentary elections in December that would create a more lasting administration.

However, he reneged on a pledge made when he was appointed prime minister that he would not run in the December election and his candidacy was one of the main controversies that eventually brought the process to collapse.

Dbeibah on Tuesday said he had started consultations to begin a new election process in June.

Reporting by Ahmed Elumami; writing by Angus McDowall; editing by Grant McCool

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