Libya PM hands proposed government to parliament for approval

AFP , Thursday 4 Mar 2021

The political process emerged from the latest bid for peace through the UN effort of the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum

Abdul Hamid Dbeibah
Prime Minister designate Abdul Hamid Mohammed Dbeibah speaks during a news conference on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021 in Tripoli, Libya AP

Libya's interim prime minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah on Thursday submitted his proposed government for approval by parliament, his office said, a key step towards unifying the war-ravaged nation.

Dbeibah was himself selected as interim premier on February 5 in a UN-sponsored inter-Libyan dialogue, the latest internationally backed bid to salvage the country from a grinding civil war and fragmented political fiefdoms.

Libya last month commemorated 10 years since the start of the 2011 NATO-backed uprising that toppled long-time dictator Muammar Gaddafi, plunging the country into a decade of violence and political turmoil.

"In accordance with the roadmap of the political agreement... (Dbeibah) handed over to the speaker of the elected parliament his proposals for ministerial portfolios," his office said in a statement.

The oil-rich North African nation has been split between two rival administrations.

Names in Dbeibah's proposed government were not made public, but the House of Representatives is slated to vote on the list on Monday in the central coastal city of Sirte, half way between the two administrations in the east and west.

Under the UN plan, the premier has until March 19 to win approval for a cabinet, before tackling the giant task of unifying Libya's proliferating institutions and leading the transition up to December 24 polls.

Daunting challenges

Dbeibah, a billionaire from the western city of Misrata, had already sent to parliament his "structure and a working vision of a national unity government", but had not provided names.

If approved, a new cabinet would replace a Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA), set up in 2016 and headed by Fayez al-Sarraj, and a parallel administration in eastern Libya backed by the Libyan National Army (LNA)'s leader Khalifa Haftar.

An interim three-member presidency council -- selected alongside Dbeibah -- is to head the unity administration.

It faces the daunting challenge of addressing the grievances of ordinary Libyans, hit by a dire economic crisis, soaring unemployment, wretched public services and crippling inflation.

The UN special envoy for Libya, Jan Kubis, spoke to both Dbeibah and the influential parliament speaker Aguila Saleh on Thursday, where he "stressed the importance of moving forward" with the vote of confidence on the cabinet set for March 8.

The political process emerged from the latest bid for peace through the UN effort of the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF), which has taken place in Tunisia, Egypt, Morocco and Geneve in recent months.

But the process has been marred by allegations of vote-buying.

They centre on claims in a confidential report by UN experts that at least three participants were offered bribes of hundreds of thousands of dollars in November.

Dbeibah's administration issued a statement on Tuesday demanding the UN experts publish the report, defending the "integrity of the process through which the new authority was selected".

This week, an advance team of a UN observer mission flew into the capital Tripoli, tasked with monitoring a ceasefire between the country's rival armed factions.

According to the UN, some 20,000 mercenaries and foreign fighters were still in Libya in early December.

A January 23 deadline for their withdrawal passed without any signs of them pulling out.

*This story was edited by Ahram Online. 

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