By Moutaz Ali.
Tripoli, 19 April 2014:
Seven nominees to replace caretaker Prime Minister Abdullah Al-Thinni will be given just between five to . . .[restrict]ten minutes each to present their agendas at tomorrow’s General National Congress (GNC) sitting.
A number of Congress members are still pushing to replace Abdullah Al-Thinni who was made interim Prime Minister on 8 April after threatening to quit unless handed more powers but who announced five days later that he regretted accepting the job, that he would stand down when Congress elected a replacement and that he would not present it with a new cabinet, as requested by Congress .
It is believed that he made the “resignation” threat because he saw no point in changing government ministers at this point in time and because he was sure that none of the nominees for the post supported by difference groups in Congress could gather the 120 votes needed to be appointed as prime minster.
The seven nominees are:
- Senussi Sifhat, a former Beida Local Council head (nominated by Libya Council of Thuwar);
- Juma Fahaima, a former member of Beida Local Council, nominated by members of the National Forces Alliance);
- Ahmed Maetiq, a Misratan businessman who is seen to have the backing of Misratans but also increasingly of a number of members of the Islamist Wafa bloc in Congress (nominated by a number of independent Congress members, Abdulrahman Al-Shater among them);
- Ali Al-Burki, supported by a number of “liberals” (nominated by members of the National Forces Alliance);
- Mohamed Bouker, the head of Civil Registration (nominated by members of the National Forces Alliance);
- Bashir Al-Faqhie, a Bani Walid Local Council member (nominated by members of the National Forces Alliance); and
- Omar Al-Hassi, a Benghazi academic (nominated by the Wafa bloc).
Many of those pushing to replace Thinni are from the Wafa bloc and are said to want Congress to remain in existence until the end of the year or even mid 2015.
Other Congress members, however, view the whole exercise as increasingly irrelevant With High National Elections Commission (HNEC) expected to set the date for elections to a new legislature at either the end of June just before Ramadan or at the beginning of August just after Eid, none of the seven nominees is going to be anything other than the most temporary stopgap – unless Congress’ votes to extend its life as some members would like. But that would almost certainly result in destabilising public fury.
“Electing a new prime minister for a thee-month period makes little sense,” GNC member for Khoms Abdulmonem Alyaser told the Libya Herald. “What kind of vision could possibly be enacted over such a short period of time? The only reason we would require a new prime minister would be in the event that elections to the House of Representatives failed – which would mean disaster.”
Highly regarded Benghazi GNC member Ahmed Langhi was also of the opinion there was no need for a new prime minister. Libyans, he said, were were far more concerned about the upcoming elections to the House of Representatives, with candidates now registering with HNEC.
After each candidate gives his speech tomorrow, the GNC will have the opportunity to discuss the nominees although no vote has been scheduled.