BENGHAZI, Libya- Libya's eastern-based parliament said on Monday there would be no elections this year and it would choose a new interim prime minister on Thursday, potentially setting up a new factional struggle over control of government.
The parliament, which has been working on a political roadmap since the collapse in December of a planned election process amid disputes over the vote's rules and constitutional basis, voted on Monday to adopt the plan.
The internationally recognised Government of National Unity (GNU), which was installed a year ago through a U.N.-backed peace process, says its mandate is still valid and that it has no intention of stepping aside.
It is not yet clear whether that means Libya is moving towards a new division between rival warring administrations or to another phase of negotiations as the political and military elite reconfigure their alliances to maintain power.
However, disputes over the validity of the government and how and when elections should happen threaten to undermine the fragile peace that has held in Libya since the collapse of an eastern assault on Tripoli in summer 2020.
Under the roadmap, Libyan political institutions would first amend the constitutional declaration that has served as Libya's de facto interim constitution since the 2011 revolution and offer it to referendum.
National elections would then not follow for another 14 months.
This week candidates as prime minister, including the powerful former interior minister Fathi Bashagha, will appear in parliament to seek support from legislators.
The U.N. special adviser on Libya, along with Western countries, have since December been urging political institutions to prioritise a new election date rather than setting up another transition period.
Libya has gone through several ostensible transitions during the decade of violent chaos after the 2011 NATO-backed uprising against Muammar Gaddafi. Many of the same political leaders have been allowed to retain their power throughout the process.
The parliament, which was elected eight years ago and mostly sided with eastern forces during the civil war, was part of a transition that was meant to include a new constitution.
Another body, the High State Council, is made up of members of an earlier 2012 transitional parliament and was created through a 2015 political accord meant to end the civil war.
The existing transitional administration, the Government of National Unity, was selected through a U.N. process in 2020 and 2021 that was meant to end in elections to replace all Libya's political institutions.
(Reporting by Ayman al-Warfali, writing by Angus McDowall, editing by Mark Heinrich) ((email@example.com; Reuters Messaging: firstname.lastname@example.org))