Abdulhamid Dbeibah, who was made interim prime minister a year ago in a U.N.-backed process, has refused to cede power to Bashagha after a planned election collapsed in December and remains ensconced in the capital, backed by some armed groups.
After the election process fell apart, the parliament said Dbeibah’s government had expired and selected Bashagha to head a new transitional period towards elections next year – a move rejected by other factions.
“We have direct contacts with the Libyan west, with Tripoli, the political elite and the leaders of the battalions and some societal figures,” Bashagha said in an interview in Tunis.
“God willing the government will be able to carry out its duties in Tripoli in the coming days.”
Bashagha has repeatedly said he will not use force to enter the capital and told Reuters “our arrival in Tripoli and the government headquarters will be completely peaceful”.
He said there were indications from inside Libya and internationally that he would be able to take over in Tripoli and that Dbeibah’s government was not able to operate outside the city.
Bashagha said Turkish forces in Libya, invited by the previous Tripoli government but whose presence is rejected by the parliament, were in the country legally.
“Any military presence is governed by an agreement… we can control it and we can ask these forces to cancel the agreement or leave Libya,” he said.
Dbeibah’s oil minister has challenged the role of National Oil Corp chairman Mustafa Sanalla. Bashagha said any moves to restructure the board “will cause a big problem for oil production and workers in the oil sector”.
He praised both Sanalla and Central Bank of Libya governor Sadiq al-Kabir, who has been seen as a Dbeibah ally, saying Kabir “has an important role in stability”.
Bashagha said he would only spend money through a budget approved by parliament. The chamber rejected Dbeibah’s budget last year but he was still able to spend money, drawing accusations of corruption, which he has denied.