The head of Libya’s unelected Tripoli-based parliament has called for a new round of elections, saying a new ballot is the only way to pull the nation back from the brink of civil war.

“We need new elections,” rebel prime minister, Omar al-Hassi, told news agency AFP on 3 November, claiming the House of Representatives elected in June had lost its legitimacy.

Al-Hassi’s Islamist parliament, known as the General National Congress rose to power in Tripoli after a militia-coalition defeated rivals in a battle for the city in August.

Security concerns mean the House of Representatives are currently based on a cruise ship moored in the small eastern town of Tobruk and has limited power in the capital where Al-Hassi holds sway.

In October, elected Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thani said militias loyal to the House of Representatives were planning to take back control of both Tripoli and Benghazi, Libya’s second city.

Benghazi has seen fierce fighting over recent days as forces loyal to Al-Thani fight Islamist groups for control of territory, with warplanes and tanks being used in the fighting near the city’s port.

The worsening conflict is being watched nervously by Libya’s neighbours who fear the unrest will cause increasing chaos beyond its borders.

Both Sudan and Egypt pledged to support al-Thani’s military forces in on 19 October after two days of talks in Cairo.