By Sami Zaptia.
Tripoli, 27 February 2014:
At Tuesday’s Prime Ministerial press conference held by Ali Zeidan, members of the media . . .[restrict]were surprised by the appearance of the recently resigned Electricity Minister Ali Muhairig.
It will be recalled that five Ministers representing the Islamist Justice and Construction party (J&P) had been ordered to resign from the Zeidan government in mid January, officially in protest at poor performance.
However, the resignation came on the back of a failed attempt by, amongst others, the J&P party to oust the Zeidan government through a vote of no confidence in the GNC.
But despite the initial announcement of their resignation, it was revealed on 26th January that the five J&C ministers were to stay in post for a fortnight until replacements could be found.
“Prime Minister Ali Zeidan asked the ministers to stay in their positions for two weeks so he could find replacements,” a member of the executive office of the J&C party, Mohamed Harizi, had told the Libya Herald in the last week of January.
Initially the ministers had said they only wanted to stay for a week, Harizi had said, but then added that an agreement was reached for them to stay for longer, giving the government more time to find replacements.
“All five ministers will stay in their posts and run the ministries until handing over to the new ministers in an official ceremony,” Harizi had explained.
At Tuesday’s press conference, it was noted that the body language was very positive between the Prime Minister and his former Electricity Minister. In fact, Zeidan was in a very unusually warm mood, joking and interrupting the Electricity Minister while he was speaking at the press conference podium.
Muhairig brought up the topic of his supposed resignation, saying that he was awaiting the Prime Minister’s permission to depart as soon as the later had installed a replacement.
The Electricity Minister added that the government had a Prime Minister who had “the right to accept or refuse” to accept his resignation. “When I joined this government, I became part of an organisation of the Libyan state. I respect him and appreciate him and we have had a relationship for twenty years. We are not governed by political matters and I joined as a national duty and I am continuing in a caretaker capacity”.
“If my resignation is not accepted (soon), I may have to depart”, he added. ” so he hoped “it would not take too long”, to find his replacement or accept his resignation.
It will be recalled that Prime Minister Ali Zeidan had presented his government reshuffle on 9th February to the GNC for approval.
However, privately, some GNC members had told Libya Herald 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.
Equally, Libyan public demands for the GNC to end its mandate early and call elections by summer, has further confused matters as some GNC members do not see the logic in installing a brand new government for a period ranging anything from as little as a four or six months.