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Libya’s east-based parliament approved a new government this week to replace the cabinet of interim Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah, a move that could reignite tensions and again divide the war-torn nation into rival administrations, Reuters reported Wednesday.

A majority of lawmakers voted to appoint Fathi Bashagha as the country’s new prime minister to replace the incumbent Dbeibah, who was installed via a United Nations-backed process last year.

Officials in Dbeibah’s government questioned the validity of Tuesday’s vote, noting that some lawmakers said that their votes had been registered although they were not present in parliament.

The recent tensions are part of a broader crisis that began following the postponement of the December presidential elections. Since the overthrow of tyrant Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, Libya has been engulfed in civil war, with the country split into two rival administrations, each backed by various foreign powers.

In 2020, an UN-backed peace proposal resulted in a ceasefire between factions and the installation of an interim unity government led by Dbeibah, which was to lead to elections.

But the polls failed to materialize amid disputes over rules. The parliament moved to take control of the political process and voted to replace Dbeibah’s government last month.

Critics of the parliament have accused it of trying to sabotage the elections to remain in power indefinitely. Lawmakers have denied the allegations.

Meanwhile, opposing armed groups have mobilized in the capital, Tripoli, in recent weeks and foreign forces supporting rival factions remain in the country.

Political analysts said it was unclear if the current crisis will reignite an armed conflict but added that it could result in Libya returning to a country with warring administrations.

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