Libya's parliament said on Thursday it will hold a session next week in which it is likely to vote on confirming a new interim government though the incumbent administration has vowed it will not hand over power.
A year after a unity government was installed in Tripoli and two months after a scheduled election was cancelled amid arguments over the rules, the dispute over how to move forward threatens to plunge Libya back into division.
Former interior minister Fathi Bashagha, the man designated by the parliament to form the new government, said on Thursday he was ready to propose a cabinet and the chamber's spokesman said a session would be held on Monday.
However, the current prime minister, Abdulhamid al-Dbeibah, who took office through a UN-backed process, has said he will only hand over power after an election and this week said he was planning to hold a nationwide vote in the summer.
The parliament accuses Dbeibah of corruption and says his term expired on Dec. 24 when the election was meant to happen.
Dbeibah denies this and says the parliament is itself no longer valid eight years after it was elected.
Though the parliament also says it plans a referendum on a new temporary constitution, and elections after that, few analysts expect a national vote any time soon.
The tussle between Libya's rival political institutions now threatens to thrust the country back into conflict after the last major bout of fighting stopped in 2020.
Over recent weeks opposing armed factions have mobilized in the capital Tripoli and analysts say the political crisis could trigger clashes with potential knock-on effects across the country.
Libya has had little peace or security since the 2011 NATO-backed uprising against Moammar al-Gaddafi and it split after the last national election in 2014 between warring administrations ruling in Tripoli and the east.
The parliament mostly sided in that conflict with eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA) of Khalifa Haftar against the then government in Tripoli, an administration that included Bashagha.
It is not clear, however, whether any new conflict would take place along the same lines as the previous one, with Libyan political factions and armed groups having reconfigured their ties with past enemies and allies alike.