Thursday, February 18, 2016

New line-up for Libyan Government of National Accord announced

Late today, February 14, the Presidency Council of the Government of National Accord (GNA) announced a revised lineup for the new government.

The Presidency Council was given an extra five days to prepare the new list and has just made the deadline. There will be 13 ministers plus five ministers of state. The list now goes to the internationally-recognized House of Representatives for a vote of confidence. An earlier list of 32 ministers was rejected by the HoR as being too large.
In a sign of continuing division within the GNA, two of the nine members refused to sign on to the new list. The formation of the GNA has suffered repeated delays. Majbari a member of the Council said: "We call on Libyans suffering from the fighting ... and the members of parliament to support the Government of National Accord, which will provide the framework to fight terrorism." The new GNA will replace the two rival governments. The internationally-recognized government the House of Represenatitves (HoR) is located in the east in Tobruk. The General National Congress (GNC) government is located in Tripoli in the west. The GNA would replace both but the legislature of the HoR will be the legislative body of the new GNA.
However the head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), Martin Kobler, wants the new government to be located in Tripoli. The headquarters of the Libyan National Bank and the National Oil Company are there. Reuters claims western governments back the new GNA so that it can call in international support when and where it is needed.
The prime minister designate, Faiez Serraj, said the latest appointments, many different than the earlier ones, took into account "experience, competence, geographical distribution, and the political spectrum and components of Libyan society." The defence minister named is the same as on the last list, Mahdi al-Barghati. Al-Barghati is a leader in Operation Dignity an operation begun in May 2014 by Khalifa Haftar to rid Libya of Islamists including the Libya Dawn militia that supports the GNC. Nevertheless, Al Barghati is at odds with Haftar and appears to be accepted by members of the GNC within the GNA. Although Kobler has not yet issued a news release on the new list, he congratulated the Council on Twitter and said that the Libyan people were on there way to peace and unity.
Sputnik reports only a 13 member government quoting the Al Arabiya news network. It notes that three women are included in the new list. The report does not mention the additional 5 ministers of state.
ABC news notes that the new government could eventually seek international military intervention against the Islamic States but cautions that the new GNA needs to have a vote of confidence from the HoR. This could happen as early as Monday. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had spoken with the Faiez Serraj last week urging him to submit a new list soon. Ibrahim Dabbashi, Libyan permanent envoy to the UN tweeted that the new cabinet had many people close to the Gadaffi regime and could be rejected by the parliament. Many western governments are eagerly awaiting formation of the new government since they hope the government will ask for military intervention. However, there are already many special forces already operating in Libya.
There is no mention in any reports about the issue of Section 8 in the main text of the LPA that would give the job of commander in chief of the Libyan National Army to the Presidency Council rather than Khalifa Haftar immediately upon the HoR vote of confidence. Perhaps the idea is to just ignore the section as if it did not exist. The press and the Presidency Council has already done this with respect to the section 8 in the additional provisions. It appears easy to ignore these issues and the press simply follows along obediently. The HoR had demanded that Section be deleted before they would accept the LPA. This is impossible. Nevertheless the issue appears to have disappeared.


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