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Libya PM under fire over proposed cabinet

05 October 2012, 10:23

Tripoli - Libya's elected Prime Minister Mustafa Abu Shagur came under fire on Thursday over his government team, after angry demonstrators barged into parliament in protest at the line-up.

Critics charged it lacks competent and well-known personalities.

"Many of the candidates are unknown and many failed to do anything in the last government. I don't see this as a government that could last," warned Miftah Buzeid, editor of the Benghazi-based Barniq newspaper.

General National Congress representatives began discussing the line-up late on Thursday after more than 100 demonstrators had barged into their headquarters complaining that the western town of Zawiyah was not represented on the list.

In their opening remarks, broadcast live on television, several representatives took shots at the proposed cabinet.

"Abu Shagur did not deliver the government he promised - it is neither a government of national unity nor a government representative of all the regions," said one representative.

"We didn't receive their CVs," complained another, stressing this showed lack of respect for the legislative assembly.

"Most of the ministers presented on the list were in the previous government, are incompetent or unknown," added a third, who like the others was not named in the broadcast.

Abu Shagur's proposed government would keep four ministers and one deputy prime minister from the previous cabinet, which was widely criticised for its failure to take tough stances on security and plagued by corruption scandals.

Liberal coalition

The suggested cabinet leaves out the National Forces Alliance, a liberal coalition under the leadership of war-time prime minister Mahmud Jibril, which proved to be the most popular party in July elections.

On Wednesday, the liberal coalition issued a statement saying it gave its support to Abu Shagur although it would not take part in the government, in the wake of failed negotiations.

The Justice and Construction Party, which was spawned by the Muslim Brotherhood and is the second largest, expressed its disappointment over the cabinet on Thursday.

This is not "the national consensus we were aiming for in order to get the country out of its current crisis ... Nor is it a predominantly technocratic government", said the party in an online statement.

The support of the Justice and Construction Party and its allies helped Abu Shagur win his post by giving him a small margin over Jibril, who had won the first round.

Mohammed Megaryef, president of the GNC, announced in the middle of the heated debates that Abu Shagur had called him requesting to withdraw his list and present an alternative one. No immediate decision was made.

The representatives were supposed to vote on each minister one by one on Thursday but instead they debated whether to extend Abu Shagur a chance to present an alternative lineup by 7 October.



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