Tripoli, 7 October:
Mustafa Abushagur faces the real possibility of being sacked by the National Congress at a vote to be held later today, the Libya Herald has learned.
The prime minister-elect has been engulfed in crisis since his proposed government met with a disastrous reception from Congress members on Wednesday.
Well-placed sources both inside and outside of the 200-member body have said that 116 Congress and women will vote to remove Abushagur at a meeting tomorrow, having decided that 120 votes will be needed to pass the motion.
“Abushagur has lost credibility on all sides”, said one independent Congressman, who requested not to be named. “He cannot survive”.
Yesterday evening, the Libya Herald witnessed a National Forces Alliance member emerge from a meeting at Tripoli’s Corinthia Hotel only to exclaim: “Tomorrow morning, Abushagur will be out”, before kicking an imagined object out of the door and making a spitting gesture.
The prime minister-elect was forced to withdraw his entire cabinet overnight on Wednesday, a matter of hours after having proposed it for Congressional approval.
Abushagur is due to submit a revised cabinet later today, but it is reckoned that this new list will not succeed in placating Congress members who have already resolved to vote for his dismissal.
A copy circulating yesterday purported to show that 11 names had been changed, the ministers of interior, finance, defence, higher education, health, oil, social affairs, labour, martyrs, electricity and the deputy prime minister.
A twelfth alteration was the inclusion of a foreign minister, with Abushagur having originally planned to assume that responsibility in addition to being prime minister until a suitable candidate was found.
Members of the NFA were amongst the first to vent their outrage at the initial line-up, after it emerged that not a single one of the nine names proposed by Mahmoud Jibril had been included.
A Congress source told this paper on Wednesday that when NFA Congressman Ibrahim Al-Ghariani first saw the cabinet list, he tore the paper up and threw it at Abushagur in a fit of rage.
Feisal Krekshi, formerly the NFA General-Secretary, was included in the proposed cabinet, but only after he and some 15 to 20 alliance members broke from the NFA a few days earlier.
The group had chosen to support Abushagur’s efforts to form a government after negotiations between Jibril and the prime ministerial team stalled over the alliance chief’s reportedly unacceptable demands.
Numerous independent Congress members also expressed their anger with Abushagur for failing to consult with them during the negotiations, including several who had voted for him to become prime minister.
Several Congressmen told the Libya Herald that they opposed many names on the list on account of their ties to the former regime and considered others unqualified or else unknown to them altogether.
On Thursday, some 200 protesters from Zawia stormed the Congress, reportedly complaining that the proposed government did not include a single representative from the town.
It has subsequently been claimed, however, that the real source of anger was over the inclusion of Omar Aswad as Interior Minister who, it is alleged, was responsible for a number of deaths in the town under the former regime.
Having recognised the weakness of Abushagur’s position, it is said that even Muslim Brotherhood-linked Congress members have resolved to abandon him in an effort to find an acceptable alternative. Eight Brotherhood supporters were included in the original 28-member cabinet, the only group in Congress said to have been broadly satisfied with the result.
If Abushagur is sacked tomorrow Congress will need to find an alternative who will, in turn, have to repeat the process of attempting to select an acceptable cabinet, a process which could delay the formation of a new government by at least another month. [/restrict]