Libya government stays put for sake of elections
4/29/2012 7:40:01 PM -
TRIPOLI (AFP) - Libya's National Transitional Council decided on Sunday that the interim government should stay in place, notably to ensure the success of June elections for a constituent assembly.
"To guarantee the success of elections... the National Transitional Council has decided to keep on the interim government," interim leader Mustafa Abdel Jalil told reporters.
The fate of the country's interim government, which has become the butt of scathing criticism, was decided at a high level meeting less than two months before the first national poll since the ouster of Moamer Kadhafi's regime.
Abdel Jalil's declaration smashed widespread expectations that there would be a cabinet reshuffle at the least, or even a government change after days of public barbs exchanged between the two branches of government.
The interim leader said the decision was made with the aim of preserving stability in what marks a "delicate stage of state building."
Abdel Jalil, who read a statement after the meeting, said the government should now redouble its efforts in areas such as decentralisation of power, restoring security, collecting weapons and boosting border controls.
Interim Prime Minister Abdel Rahim al-Kib's government must also find a way to provide reward schemes to former rebels and those wounded in the conflict with Kadhafi last year while "preserving public funds," he said.
It is also tasked with reviewing diplomatic representations abroad, protecting overseas Libyan investments, strengthening the judiciary and prosecuting leaders of the former regime.
Several NTC members have publicly attacked Kib, threatening to cast a no confidence vote and accusing his cabinet of weakness and an inability to take difficult decisions.
Kib's government was criticised in particular for its inability to disarm former rebels and integrate them back into society.
A visibly vexed Kib on Wednesday accused the NTC of hindering his efforts to hold elections for a constituent assembly on time, and made a vigorous defence of his government.
"In this historic moment, we find ourselves shackled by members of the National Transitional Council, who continue to attack the government and threaten to cast a no confidence vote," Kib said.
Since its appointment in November last year, the interim government has achieved an increase in overall security and the return of oil production to near pre-revolution levels, he said.
But the ministers of defence, health and interior have come under sharp scrutiny following tribal conflicts and the discovery of massive fraud in compensation schemes for former rebels who fought Kadhafi's forces.
Some NTC members were pushing to get rid of Kib too.
But Abdel Jalil warned against the consequences of a reshuffle, noting that elections are only two months away and that replacing ministerial posts could take weeks.