El Keib announces Libyan interim government
By Essam Mohamed for Magharebia in Tripoli – 23/11/11
Interim Libyan Prime Minister Abdurrahim El Keib unveiled the nation's new interim government on Tuesday (November 22nd).
"My government comes after martyrs and wounded people offered a lot of sacrifices for Libya's freedom," El Keib said. "They have sacrificed for freedom, dignity and the restoration of rights that have been stolen from them for 42 years."
The announcement of was originally slated for Sunday, but was delayed due to the arrest of Seif al-Islam al-Kadhafi.
"My government embodies the aspirations of the Libyan people for freedom, democracy and establishment of a state of law and institutions. It will provide equal opportunity, won't differentiate between citizens based on gender or ethnicity, and will bring up our young generations based on the moderate values of Islam."
Osama al-Juwali, commander of the Zintan fighters who arrested Seif al-Islam, will serve as defence minister, while the interior ministry went to Fawzi Abdelali from the former rebel stronghold of Misrata, whose fighters captured Kadhafi in October.
El Keib chose Ashour bin Khayyal, Libya's envoy to Canada under the Kadhafi regime before he joined the opposition in the 1990s, to head the foreign ministry, and Abdelrahman bin Yazza became interim oil and gas minister.
Lawyer Fethi Tarbel, whose brief arrest on February 15th was the spark that lit the popular uprising against Kadhafi's regime in the eastern city of Benghazi, was named minister of youth and sports.
Other key posts include Finance Minister Hassan Ziglam, Justice Ali Ahmida Ashour, and Minister of Waqfs and Religious Affairs Hamza Abu Faris.
The government will operate until the first public elections, 240 days from the date of Libya's liberation.
There were claims that El Keib's government included former members of Kadhafi's regime. In response, the prime minister said that NTC Chairman Mustafa Abdel Jalil himself a minister under Kadhafi. "But he's one of Libya's men who took a serious position against that regime. I don't accuse anyone, but anyone convicted of a charge will be removed from government," El Keib said.
He added that Amazighs were included as well, though journalist Tarek al-Ruwaymedh said that "a group of Amazighs will form a 10-member delegation to go to NTC head Mustafa Abdel Jalil Wednesday to talk about what they consider as exclusion or marginalisation of the Amazigh".
As to the formation of political parties, the prime minister said that "a law shall be issued on the organisation of parties, but we haven't yet agreed on any particular course."
El Keib also expressed his appreciation for the disbanded Executive Board, and said that "they have offered a lot and made huge efforts. The decisions of the former Executive Board shall be respected."
These claims of a diverse government did not appease everyone, and the announcement received mixed reactions.
"Despite what El Keib said about Libya containing lot of competencies, I do not believe that [this government] gathered competent people from all over Libya. But we wish the new government success," said Mohamed Saad.
"I do not know the reason behind the exclusion of the south within this new government," activist Abdelaziz Al-Fazani said. "Is the south outside the Libyan map or doesn't it have competencies and experiences? I am surprised that they called people from outside while they have colleagues or former school mates they know can do the job."
In response to the accusation that southern Libya was excluded, El Keib said, "I confirm that the ministers are from all over Libya and live there."
"May God grant them success and I hope people will wait until the end of the transition and let it do its work, since it is a temporary government," Laila Al-Zawi said of the new government.
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