Rival PM says new elections can save Libya

The head of Libya's self-declared government, Omar al-Hassi, has called for new elections to pull the violence-wracked nation back from chaos.

AFP| Updated: Nov 03, 2014, 17:13 PM IST

Tripoli: The head of Libya's self-declared government, Omar al-Hassi, has called for new elections to pull the violence-wracked nation back from chaos.

Three years after veteran dictator Muammar Gaddafi was toppled and killed in a NATO-backed uprising, the oil-rich North African country has two rival governments and a host of armed militias sparring for influence.

Hassi's administration is jostling for power with the internationally backed government of Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thani, formed after a parliamentary election in June.

That government and parliament have taken refuge in the far eastern city of Tobruk since Islamist militias led by the powerful Fajr Libya (Libya Dawn) coalition overran the capital in August.

"We need new elections," Hassi told, charging that the Tobruk-based parliament has "lost its legitimacy".

"This parliament is no longer accepted in Libya. It has lost its legitimacy. We need new elections," the 55-year-old academic said.

"The poll must take place under the supervision of (elected) local councils."

Hassi, who presents himself as an independent, says the unrest in Libya pitted "enemies of the revolution" against "revolutionaries".

"The revolution has been stolen. We are in the process of getting it back again," he said.

Hassi insisted that his administration can restore stability.

"We have managed this in Tripoli. Since Fajr Libya took control of the capital, we have ended power cuts and fuel shortages and arrested dozens of criminals," he said.

"If we can do this in a city of over two million people, we can succeed in the whole country.

"We urge the support of the international community in restoring stability. We are reaching out to them and trying to establish contacts with several countries," Hassi said.

He also called for foreign companies and diplomats evacuated in the summer because of the violence in Tripoli to return.

"Westerners are waiting to see who is victorious in the field, even in defiance of democratic choices, to build relationships with him, as happened in Egypt," where then army chief and now President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi toppled Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013, Hassi said.

Libyan authorities have struggled to impose their will across a country awash with weapons and powerful militias who ousted and killed veteran dictator Kadhafi in October 2011.

Militias now control large parts of the country.

Hassi's rivals say the conflict is purely political and that the Fajr Libya takeover of Tripoli was led by Islamists frustrated that they lost control of parliament in the election.