Libya—On Thursday, Libyans underscored 11 years since the revolt that toppled Muammar Gaddafi, but the democracy many hoped for has continued to remain as elusive as ever.
Just weeks after the indefinite postponement of the national elections scheduled for December 24, the Eastern Parliament resolved to appoint an influential former Interior Minister, Fathi Bashagha, to replace the interim unified government.
Incumbent Prime Minister Abdulhamid Doveiba, appointed as part of an UN-led peace process, argued that power would be delegated only to elected governments.
The showdown has sparked fears of another conflict within Tripoli.
Streets in Tripoli were lined with the red, black, and green flags adopted after Gaddafi’s overthrow while concerts and fireworks are planned for Friday in the capital’s Martyrs’ Square, where Gaddafi once gave a famous, desperate speech before the “February 17 revolution” swept him from power.
Yesterday, Doveiba attended a military recruitment ceremony at a base on the edge of the capital.
In his speech, Army staff Mohamed al-Haddad vowed that the Libyans “will never forget the February Revolutionary martyr who sacrificed their lives for a democratic nation.” The political gap following the NATO-backed uprising, boosted by regional and tribal conflicts and the involvement of external groups, has led to fierce power struggles.
Despite the country’s vast oil wealth which remains the biggest-proven reserves in Africa, many Libyans are still living in poverty.
Since Gaddafi’s ouster, Libya has had no fewer than nine governments and two full-scale civil wars but has yet to hold a presidential vote.
And now that he has the support of the Tripoli-based Supreme Council, an organization that often opposes the eastern-based parliament, Bashaga needs to form a government until February 24th.
Given the recent history of the country’s turmoil, the next question is whether Daveba will go peacefully.