Libya's eastern-based lawmakers say the decision followed the failure of the incumbent Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah to hold national elections in December.

Lawmakers voted in favour of a set of constitutional amendments that put forward a new roadmap for the country’s transition to a democratically-elected government.
Lawmakers voted in favour of a set of constitutional amendments that put forward a new roadmap for the country’s transition to a democratically-elected government. (AFP)

Libya’s east-based parliament has appointed a new prime minister, a development that counters UN efforts to reconcile the divided country and one that will likely produce two parallel administrations.

The House of Representatives said on Thursday its decision followed the incumbent premier's failure to hold national elections in December, something that was agreed to under a UN-mediated peace process. 

East-based lawmakers named former Interior Minister Fathi Bashaga to replace Abdul Hamid Dbeibah as head of a new interim government, according to the parliament spokesman, Abdullah Bliheg.

Shortly before the vote, Parliament Speaker Aguila Saleh told lawmakers in a televised session that Bashagha has become the sole candidate for the post and that a contender, Khalid al-Baibas, had pulled out.

Dbeibah rejected the parliament's move to replace him and said his internationally recognised Government of National Unity will only hand over power after a national election.  

During the same session, lawmakers also voted in favour of a set of constitutional amendments that put forward a new roadmap for the country’s transition to a democratically-elected government. 

The amendments envisage the creation of a new electoral commission and the appointment of a 24-member committee, representing the country’s all three regions, to draft a new constitution.

READ MORE: Libya's eastern-based parliament withdraws confidence from Dbeibah govt

Deepening divisions

The lack of elections has been a major blow to international efforts to end a decade of chaos in the oil-rich Mediterranean nation.

However, the move is expected to deepen divisions between rival factions in the war-stricken country.  

Libya was to hold presidential elections on December 24, but the vote was postponed over disputes between rival factions on laws governing the elections and controversial presidential hopefuls. 

East-based lawmakers have argued that the mandate of Dbeibah’s government ended on that date.

On Wednesday, hundreds took to the streets in the capital of Tripoli to protest the parliament’s decision to name a new premier. 

Dbeibah warned that his dismissal would lead the country back to “division and chaos” after nearly two years of relative calm. He said that he would only relinquish his post to an elected government.

READ MORE: Libya PM Dbeibah survives 'assassination' bid

Dbeibah, a powerful businessman from Misrata, was appointed prime minister in February last year as part of the UN-brokered, Western-backed political process. 

His government’s main task was to steer the deeply divided country toward national reconciliation and lead it through elections.

The elections were the lynchpin of UN-mediated efforts to bring peace to the oil-rich North African nation

But the incumbent prime minister became a polarising figure since he announced his presidential bid, breaking his pledge not to run in elections when he was appointed as an interim prime minister.

READ MORE: Free elections or war? What the future holds for Libya

Source: TRTWorld and agencies