Tripoli, 1 October:
A major split has been reported inside Mahmoud Jibril’s National Forces Alliance over whether or not to back the proposed government of Prime Minister-elect Mustafa Abushagur.
Negotiations between Abushagur and the NFA leader are said to be deadlocked, and hopes that Jibril will support the government appear to be fading fast.
“Jibril is negotiating very hard”, a senior member of the Abushagur team informed the Libya Herald.
“He is refusing to put forward any names [for the government] unless he can implement his proposed programme. Unfortunately, we disagree with this programme on many points”.
Abushagur and Jibril are known to be in strong disagreement on vital issues including the reintegration of former regime loyalists and the disbanding of militias, with Jibril said to advocate a more relaxed approach to both.
“A number of NFA members in Congress have agreed to support an Abushagur government and put forward candidates in the interests of national unity”, the source said.
“There has been a major split within the Alliance”.
Unverified rumours have even surfaced that NFA General Secretary Faisal Krekshi has been offered the post of health minister. Krekshi, who does not hold a seat in the Congress and would thus be eligible, is a gynaecologist by training.
This evening, the Libya Herald attempted to contact Krekshi by telephone but he was unavailable for comment.
Although the NFA was disciplined in its support for Mahmoud Jibril’s candidacy for prime minister earlier this month, many political observers have long claimed that many Alliance Congressmen joined the party more as a means of obtaining power than out of any particular loyalty to its leader.
In spite of the rupture, the source maintained that Abushagur remained committed to announcing his proposed Government later today.
As a unified body, the NFA would pose a major impediment to any ratification of the government by Congress if its members collectively chose to oppose Abushagur.
The alliance holds 39 of the 80 seats reserved for political parties, and it is also reckoned to count a significant number of individual candidates as supporters. [/restrict]