Fayez al-Sarraj said on Wednesday: “I declare my sincere desire to hand over my duties to the next executive authority no later than the end of October,” he said in a televised speech.
Citing the work of UN-sponsored talks in Geneva, he pointed to progress in agreeing a way to unify Libya’s fragmented state and prepare for elections.
The civil war has drawn in regional and international powers with the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Russia backing the LNA and Turkey supporting the Al-Sarraj Government.
However, both sides are made up of unstable coalitions that have come under stress since Turkey helped Al=Srraj Government turn back a 14-month LNA assault on Tripoli in June.
Sarraj resignation ‘not going to affect the balance of power between the east and the west’
“This is effectively the starting gun for a new round of maneouvering for what comes next,” said Tarek Megerisi, a policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations.
“Ultimately it’ll leave the GNA as an entity, and western Libya, a bit degraded,” he added.
An blockade since January has deprived the Libyan state of most of its usual revenue, worsening living standards and contributing to protests in cities controlled by both sides.
In Tripoli, the protests fuelled tensions between Sarraj and the influential Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha, whom he briefly suspended last month before restoring him to his post.
Looking back at the political career of Fayez al-Sarraj
Sarraj’s departure could lead to new infighting among other senior GNA figures, and between the armed groups from Tripoli and Bashagha’s coastal city of Misrata that wield control on the ground.
“The militia issue will be more vivid,” said Jalel Harchoui, a research fellow at the Clingendael Institute.
Sarraj has headed the GNA since it was formed in 2015 as a result of a U.N.-backed political agreement aimed at uniting and stabilising Libya after the chaos that followed the 2011 uprising that ousted Muammar Gaddafi.