Libya PM hands proposed government to parliament for approval

TRIPOLI, LIBYA - FEBRUARY 06: Libyan New Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah speaks exclusive interview in Tripoli, Libya on February 06, 2021. (Photo by Mucahit Aydemir/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
TRIPOLI, LIBYA – FEBRUARY 06: Libya’s interim Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah in Tripoli, Libya. (Photo by Mucahit Aydemir/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Libya’s interim prime minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah on Thursday submitted his proposed government for approval by parliament, his office said, a key step towards unifying the war-ravaged nation.

“In accordance with the roadmap of the political agreement… (Dbeibah) handed over to the speaker of the elected parliament his proposals for ministerial portfolios,” his office said in a statement.

Libya last month commemorated 10 years since the start of the 2011 NATO-backed uprising that toppled long-time dictator Moamer Kadhafi, plunging the country into a decade of violence and political turmoil.

The oil-rich North African nation has in recent years been split between two rival administrations backed by foreign forces, as well as countless militias.

Names in the proposed government were not made public, but the House of Representatives is slated to vote on the list on Monday in the central coastal city of Sirte, halfway between the two administrations in the east and west.

Dbeibah was selected as interim premier on February 5 in a UN-sponsored inter-Libyan dialogue, the latest internationally-backed bid to salvage the country from a grinding civil war and fragmented political fiefdoms.

Under the UN plan, the premier has until March 19 to win approval for a cabinet, before tackling the giant task of unifying Libya’s proliferating institutions and leading the transition up to December 24 polls.

Dbeibah previously sent to parliament his “structure and a working vision of a national unity government”, but had not sent names.

If approved, a new cabinet would replace a Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA), set up in 2016 and headed by Fayez al-Sarraj, and a parallel administration in eastern Libya backed by military strongman Khalifa Haftar.

An interim three-member presidency council — selected alongside Dbeibah — is to head the unity administration.

It faces the daunting challenge of addressing the grievances of ordinary Libyans, hit by a dire economic crisis, soaring unemployment, wretched public services and crippling inflation.