By Libya Herald reporter.
Tunis, 18 January 2016:
Despite the walkout this morning from the Presidency Council by Ali Gatrani, one of the . . .[restrict]two deputy prime ministers-designate from Cyrenaica, the council is expected to finally decide the names of the ministers in the government of national unity by midnight tonight. Advisers to its head, prime minister-designate Faiez Serraj, and to other members told the Libya Herald this evening that Gatrani’s action would not prevent an announcement, and that it would definitely be made in the coming hours.
Early yesterday morning, the Council unilaterally extended the deadline for the announcement by 48 hours. It was originally due by midnight Saturday.
Appearing to confirm that a statement was almost ready this evening, several members of the House of Representatives who have had several rounds of talks with Serraj and the Council at the Tunis hotel where it is temporarily based were said to be happy with the composition of the new cabinet.
Earlier in the day there were reports that some were angry at news that the Council had opted for just nine “super” ministries. They were reported to have told Serraj that as a result they would not turn up to the House of Representatives for the vote on the government, potentially depriving it of the quorum needed for approved. Following this, according to well informed sources linked to the Council, it decided there would be no slimmed-down government and that it would contain 24 ministries. According to those same sources, these have been allocated to different towns and areas, with the ministers coming from those towns and areas.
Cementing the apportioning, Serraj also had talks with a number of mayors this evening over of the list of ministers to ensure their support
It is not known if the decision by Gatrani to walk away from the Council at the eleventh hour also prompted its other members to go for the larger figure, bringing in representatives from as many places in the country as possible in a bid to counteract any negative consequences.
Gatrani is close to Khalifa Hafter and is seen as presenting his interests on the council. Some of those politicians and activists gathered at the Tunis hotel awaiting the government announcement this evening said his temporary withdrawal was a deliberate attempt to sabotage the government announcement, and done at the behest of Hafter.
Given that each ministry is to have two deputy ministers – the minister and deputies each representing the three traditional provinces of Libya – the government is going to have at least 75 ministers, possibly 81.
“It is going to be extremely difficult to manage,” one ministerial hopeful told this newspaper this evening. [/restrict]