Chaos in Libya parliament as new government list proposed

Published October 31st, 2012 - 06:40 GMT
National Assembly
National Assembly

Protesters have intruded on Tuesday evening to the hall of the National Assembly when the Libyan Parliament was to approve the new government proposed by Prime Minister Ali Zeidan, leading to the postponement of the vote.

"I wanted us to continue this session (...), but morally, I can not take this responsibility," said Assembly Speaker Mohamed Megaryef before adjourning the vote for Wednesday.

Earlier, Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan proposed to the National Assembly a broad-based government of 30 ministers with Liberals and Islamists represented.

The key ministries have been entrusted to independent figures, said Zeidan before the 200 members of National Executive Congress (NEC). "I have decided to appoint independent figures for the following ministries: Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation, Finance, Justice, Interior and Defense," he said. Two experienced figures from the city of Benghazi have been proposed for the Interior and Defence ministries.

The Ministry of the Interior was given by Zeidan to Chwayel Achour, 58, a law expert who worked in the police for 35 years.

The defense portfolio was awarded to Mohamed al-Barghathi, 71, a veteran fighter pilot who was one of the first officers to join the rebellion in Benghazi in February 2011.

The Foreign Ministry has been entrusted to the Libyan ambassador to the United States, Ali al-Oujli, 65, a diplomat who boasts 45 years of career.

Mr. Zeidan also proposed to create a new Ministry of Tourism, for the first in the ultra-conservative country, to be headed by a woman, Ikram Bach Imam.

If accepted, the future government should replace the outgoing cabinet of Prime Minister al-Kib Abdelrahim, in office since November 2011.

According to sources in the Assembly, several ministers, including Foreign Affairs, Religious Affairs and Petroleum, have been challenged by several deputies.

In the early evening, when deputies were called to vote on the set up of the government, shouts were heard and some protesters broke into the Assembly. According to a member of the Congress, they heard some protestors demonstrate against the proposed list by Mr. Zeidan, mainly against those who worked for the ousted regime of Muammar Gaddafi. "What happened is a psychological pressure on members of Congress," said Mr Megaryef, who warned against the "chaos" before negotiating with the protesters in vain.

Considering the situation "out of control", he decided to adjourn the vote.


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