Presidential candidates, Fathi Bashagha who was an Interior Minister of the previous government in Libya, and Ahmed Maiteeq who was a member of the previous Presidential Council - both from Misrata - traveled to Benghazi in eastern Libya and held a meeting with Khalifa Haftar, a current presidential candidate and a long-time self-proclaimed army chief in the eastern region.
The meeting was for presidential candidates to bring together their visions for the upcoming stage of the political process after the clear but yet-to-be-announced postponement of elections. The meeting included other candidates like Aref Al-Nayed, Mohammed Muntasser, Al-Sharif Al-Wafi and Abdelmajid Siaf Al-Nasser.
After the meeting that took place at Tebisty Hotel in Benghazi, Bashagha, who once considered Haftar a war criminal and a warlord, said he was generously invited by candidate Haftar to reaffirm unity of national efforts to deal with the developments and to respect the aspirations of 2.5 million Libyans who are awaiting the date of holding presidential and parliamentary elections, adding that national reconciliation is second to none and is a national choice that cannot be ignored.
Well-informed sources said the meeting between Haftar and Bashagha wasn't the first as they met, in an unannounced manner, months ago in Cairo, adding that the Benghazi meeting, though on the surface is an icebreaker and aims to let the bygones be bygones, is in fact a way to agree on forming a new government to replace the Government of National Unity headed by Abdul-Hamid Dbeibah with the impossibility of holding elections on December 24.
Bashagha has been trying for years to occupy the Prime Minister's position and he allied with Haftar for it, but this isn't the first alliance he makes with eastern leaders as he allied with Parliament Speaker Aqila Saleh during the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum earlier in 2021, when they both were part of the same list for the interim authority, but they lost to Menfi-Dbeibah list.