The prospect of Tripoli sinking further into the political mire with two competing prime ministers linked to different militia groupings evaporated last night when Omar Al-Hassi, sacked for economic mismanagement by the continuing General National Congress as its head of government, agreed to stand down. He handed over to his former deputy Khalifa Ghwell in a televised ceremony.
Hassi was dismissed the day before yesterday but then refused to go, challenging the right of Congress to remove him. He said that he would accept the decision only if his “revolutionary partners” also agreed. For a short while they did not. The Libyan Revolutionaries Operations Room, Islamist like Hassi, put out a statement claiming that, as the defenders of the revolution, it alone had legitimate authority in Libya and that it would “eliminate” anyone opposed to him.
The change of heart followed a statement from Libya Dawn (LD) which said that he had to go.
LD is the real master of the capital and Hassi, who has not always been connected to political reality, appears to have been made fully aware of it this time.
During the handover, Ghwell, who also acted as Hassi’s defence minister, said that his administration would remain attached to the principles of February 17 Revolution and not betray the sacrifices made by the martyrs, but would also continue to work for dialogue provided it was based on those principles. He added that his government rejected extremism and violence.
He has been accused, however, of being as hardline an Islamist as Hassi. Last month in an interview, however, he said Ansar Al-Sharia were revolutionaries who were “acceptable” because they were fighting General Khalifa Hafter.
By Saber Ayyub.