By Ahmed Elumami.
Tripoli, 9 February 2014:
The prime minister’s much talked-about plan to reshuffle the cabinet finally took concrete form . . .[restrict]today with eight new ministerial nominations sent to Congress.
The proposed new ministers, according to Congress spokesman Omar Hemidan, are Mahmoud Ajaj, current head of HIB, to replace Ali Hussein Al-Sharif at Housing and Utilities, Mraja Gaith, current Deputy Minister of Finance, at Finance (replacing Alkilani Abdel-Kareem), Mohamed Muftah Nuh, currently head of the PIB Western Region, at Economy (replacing Mustafa Abofanas), Fathi Mohamed Abdul-Latif at Oil and Gas (replacing Abdulbari Al-Arusi), and Saleh Mazen Abdurrahman Barasi, current head of Tripoli CID, at Interior, currently being run by the Deputy Prime Minister Sadiq Abdulkarim.
Ibrahim Sharkas is being proposed as Youth and Sports Minister to replace Abdulsalam Guaila and Mohamed Bashir Abduldaim as Local Government Minister, replacing Abubakr Al-Hadi Mohammed.
Minister Habib Al-Amin, seen as Zeidan’s closest ally in government, is also taking on the Information Ministry. The Prime Minister is proposing to integrate the two ministries, according to the First Deputy President of Congress, Ezziden Mohamed Younis Al-Awami, who confirmed to the Libya Herald that nominations had been received from the Prime Minister’s office. He added that there was no agreement as yet on the reshuffle because it had not been included on today’s agenda. Congress members would discuss it later.
Privately, however, some members have told this newspaper that there is already widespread agreement that the proposals should be rejected on the basis that the Prime Minister and the whole government should go – and would go – within a fortnight.
A reshuffle has been mooted for some time but became necessary last month when it was announced that the five representatives in cabinet of the Justice & Construction Party – Oil and Gas Minister Arusi, Housing and Utilities Minister Sharif, Youth and Sports Minister Guaila, Economy Minister Abofanas and Electricity Minister, Ali Muhairiq – had toed the party line and resigned. It was then announced that they would stay on temporarily until replacements were found.
Possibly significantly, it appears that there is no new Electricity Minister in the reshuffle – backing up reports from Congress that Muhairiq never resigned in the first place.
The outgoing Local Government Minister, Abubakr Al-Hadi Mohammed, had tendered his resignation in July over questions about his suitability for office under the Political Isolation Law rules. However, he too was asked to stay on pending the appointment of a replacement.
The First Deputy Prime Minister has been acting Interior Minister since mid-August when after four months in the job Mohamed Al-Sheikh quit. [/restrict]