UN will continue to support the unity government chief Abdul Hamid Dbeibah, spokesperson Stephane Dujarric says, after an alternative prime minister was named in a controversial vote by east-based parliament.

PM Dbeibah rejects eastern-based parliament's move to replace him and says his internationally recognised unity government will only hand over power after a national election.
PM Dbeibah rejects eastern-based parliament's move to replace him and says his internationally recognised unity government will only hand over power after a national election. (AA Archive)

The UN has said it still recognises Abdul Hamid Dbeibah as Libya's interim prime minister after the east-based parliament or House of Representatives voted for former interior minister Fathi Bashagha to become the country's new premier.

"The short answer is yes," said Stephane Dujarric, spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday when asked if the UN still recognises Dbeibah as PM. 

"It's very important for all Libyan leaders and stakeholders to keep in mind the Libyan people," Dujarric said, adding that the UN's aim was to "help the Libyan people."

"We have seen the reports of the appointment of another prime minister," he said. 

"Our position remained unchanged."

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

Khalifa Haftar, the warlord who tried to topple the UN-recognised government, supports the parliament in eastern Tobruk city while the UN supports Dbeibah and the parliament in capital Tripoli.

Early on Thursday, Dbeibah also escaped unharmed from an assassination attempt in the capital, Tripoli.

"We've seen the press reports on the assassination, but we've not gotten any confirmation," Dujarric said at a news conference.

Dujarric said the UN chief's Special Advisor on Libya Stephanie Williams "is currently engaging with all key interlocutors to get a clearer picture of what has been agreed."

Dbeibah warns of 'division and chaos'

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 decision 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.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies