The Prime Minister-designate, appointed by the House of Representatives (HoR), Fathi Bashagha, told The Associated Press late on Wednesday that he “has no immediate plans to rule from the capital of Tripoli”, saying he has said that he won't enter the capital unless conditions are 100% favorable.
Bashagha added, after his attempted move to Tripoli last week had sparked clashes and fears of a return to widespread civil strife, that his government will work from its headquarters in Sirte.
Describing last week’s events, Bashagha added that he had entered Tripoli in a civilian car and that those escorting him were unarmed, saying "we do blame ourselves for having entered the city.”
Bashagha was named prime minister by the country’s east-based parliament in February, yet his rival, current Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah, who is based in Tripoli, has refused to step down, insisting he will hand over power only to an elected government.
Bashagha said he doubts Dbeibah can unite the country and organize orderly voting, claiming he does not command enough loyalty outside of the capital and will only be able to hold them in Tripoli, adding that his own government is looking at holding nationwide elections within 14 months.
He said Abdel-Ghani Al-Kikli, the leader of Stability Support Apparatus, was part of the effort to attack him after he entered Tripoli.
Bashagha also called on the country’s Central Bank to pay out his government’s budget that was passed by the east-based lawmakers. Previously, Bashagha accused Central Bank Governor Al-Siddiq Al-Kabir of supporting armed groups that are opposing his government.
The bank is the repository for billions of dollars annually in oil revenue as well as foreign reserves. In 2014, it splintered along the country’s broader political fault lines.