By Umar Khan.
Tripoli, 8 September 2013:
The Justice and Construction party has continued its criticism of Ali Zeidan’s premiership but has not . . .[restrict]announced that it will withdraw its own five ministers from the government.
J&C party head Mohammed Sawan said that Zeidan’s attacks on his party had been designed to distract attention from the failures of his government.
“We understand it is hard time to govern the country but there is no prioritisation of issues. The government is not working in the right direction as a crisis government, and there is no will to resolve the core issues like formation of Army and Police, local administration and effective foreign affairs ministry.”
Speaking at a press conference last night Sawan said: “The two main problems with the Electricity and Oil ministries are both security-related. The Oil Minister is supposed to ensure the administration of the oil companies and be responsible from the extraction of oil to the delivery to the storage tanks. The problem is government cannot ensure exports and it is a security failure.”
He continued: “Similarly the Electricity Minister is not responsible to secure power plants from bomb attacks or to stop people from sabotaging the cables. The Prime Minister is directly responsible for both these issues.”
Responding to the criticism by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mohamed Abdulaziz, who has said he will sue for remarks made about financial irregularities at his ministry, Sawan said that he is not questioning the nationalism of anybody.
Repeating the earlier accusations about the financial corruption in the foreign ministry he said countries coming out of situations like Libya reassess their foreign policies and manage diplomatic staff in other countries. He maintained: “There are as many as seven military attaches in some countries and same situation to other administrative staff that are receiving their salaries.”
On Zeidan’s visit to Egypt, Sawan said that it was against the principles of the 17 February revolution and what it stood for. He said the party’s position on this visit was clear, that the prime minister should focus on the internal affairs of the country. “He (Zeidan) should focus on the internal matters of Libya when we are going through this sensitive time and his visit doesn’t go along with the values of 17 February revolution, especially what happened in Egypt after the military coup ,in terms of human rights violations and condemnation from whole world,” he said.
The J&C has four ministers in the current government after their deputy Prime Minister resigned recently in a hastily arranged press conference that party has labeled as a personal decision.
Sawan fell short of withdrawing support from the government and left it to the supreme committee of the to decide on the move. It was seen as an obvious response by many close to party leadership that J&C would withdraw from the government but the statement left them surprised. In addition, the fact that Sawan was not accompanied by other senior members of party also hints that not all were happy with the decision. Notable absentees were the heads of Political office and Media relations.