Libya parliament approves rival cabinet to unity govt: statement

Libya parliament approves rival cabinet to unity govt: statement
A new cabinet has been approved by the eastern-based parliament in Libya, threatening the stability of the north African country.
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Libya's stability was recently threatened when the east established a new parliament [Getty]

Libya's eastern-based parliament on Tuesday approved a new cabinet, in a challenge to the unity government of Abdulhamid Dbeibah in the capital Tripoli in the west.

The new administration, to be headed by former interior minister Fathi Bashagha, won the confidence of the House of Representatives with a majority of 92 members, speaker Aguila Saleh said.

Bashagha had been tasked in early February with forming a government to replace that of Dbeibah, deemed by the HoR as having outlived its mandate.

But Dbeibah, the interim prime minister based in Tripoli, has repeatedly said he will only cede power to an elected government.

The construction tycoon had been appointed a year earlier, as part of United Nations-led efforts to draw a line under a decade of conflict following the 2011 revolt that toppled dictator Moamer Kadhafi.

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He was to lead the country to elections in December, but they were indefinitely postponed and Saleh, a rival presidential candidate, argued that his mandate was finished.

The House of Representatives, elected in 2014, is based in the eastern city of Tobruk while Dbeibah's administration is western-based in Tripoli, reflecting the deep and complex divisions that have plagued Libya in recent years.

The rise of Bashagha's government once again gives the country two prime ministers, and experts have warned it could spark violence.

Bashagha has said he will "reach out to everyone".