Fayez al-Sarraj, head of the Presidency Council and head of the internationally recognized government in Libya, announced his desire to hand over power at the end of next October.
“We hope that the dialogue committee will finish its work and choose a new presidential council and prime minister,” Sarraj said in a speech broadcast on Libyan state television on Wednesday.
Al-Sarraj heads the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord, while forces loyal to the military commander, Khalifa Haftar, control large areas in eastern Libya and a large part of the south.
In his speech, Al-Sarraj admitted that the state of polarization made all discussions aimed at finding peaceful settlements very difficult and arduous, accusing the parties, whom he did not name, of “betting on the choice of war.”
He added that his government “has not been operating in a natural or even semi-natural environment since its formation, and has been exposed every day to plots internally and externally,” as he put it.
Al-Sarraj assumed the presidency of the Government of National Accord since its formation in 2015 as a result of a political agreement supported by the United Nations aimed at unifying and stabilizing Libya after the chaos that followed the 2011 uprising that toppled the late leader Muammar Gaddafi.
Analysts expect Sarraj’s resignation to add to political uncertainty in Tripoli or even infighting between rival factions in the coalition that dominates western Libya.
However, others believe that this comes in the context of a move towards a political solution after the Government of National Accord ended in June the pro-Haftar attack on Tripoli, which lasted 14 months, and forced it to withdraw from the capital.
The ongoing war in Libya has attracted regional and international powers, as the UAE, Egypt and Russia support Haftar’s forces, while Turkey and Qatar support the Government of National Accord.