Libyan Prime Minister Designate Faiez Serraj has asked the internationally recognized House of Representatives (HOR) in Tobruk for, and received, an extension to nominate new candidates to the second proposed Government of National Accord before it is voted on by the HOR after two proposed ministers declined their nominations. Reports indicate Serraj has been asked to present the amended proposal to the HOR in person on Saturday, February 20.
Two days ago, on February 15, the Presidency Council headed by Faiez Serraj submitted a second proposed government to the Internationally recognized House of Representatives (HOR) in Tobruk. The second list was slimmed down to thirteen ministers and five ministers of state, after Serraj’s first list had been rejected by the HOR in late January for containing too many (thirty two) ministers.
Signs of difficulties with the second proposal emerged from its announcement as two of the nine members of the Presidency Council refused to sign off on the proposed government. Some members of the Presidency Council, how many is not clear, were unaware of the appointment of the ministers of state, who had apparently been added last minute. This was followed by two of the nominated ministers withdrawing their names from consideration (they had not been consulted prior to nomination).
Although these developments seem rather ominous, coming within 48 hours of the proposal, a cause for optimism can be found in the fact that the HOR has not (yet overwhelmingly) opposed the appointment of Mahdi al-Barghathi (Al-Burghuthi) as Defense Minister.
The position of Defense Minister, and its implications as to the future role of HOR ally General Khalifa Haftar, was seen as the major stumbling block in forming a Government of National Accord. Al-Barghathi, although a rival of Haftar once fought alongside the former Gaddafi era general, is perhaps seen by the HOR as someone who could work with both Haftar and the Islamist General National Congress in Tripoli who are sworn enemies of Haftar.
The two ministers who withdrew their names, the nominee for Minister of Finance and the Minister of Wounded and Missing, will in all likelihood have to be replaced by candidates who will be chosen first for their regional backgrounds and secondly for their CVs.
The Tunisian Minister of Foreign Affairs Khemaies Jhinaoui, while speaking at a joint press conference with the Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari in Tunis mentioned that Tunisia would soon organize a meeting of Libya’s neighboring countries to “support for the new Libyan government headed by Fayez al-Sarraj.”(Faiez Serraj)
Jhinaoui added “We are against any military intervention in Libya that will by no means resolve the crisis.” adding “The information available to us indicates that there are preparations in some Western countries for strikes against terrorist targets in Libya, but no military intervention is planned in a near future.”
Despite multiple setbacks including the rejected first proposal, the problems mentioned above with the second, several walkouts and well documented infighting (with several members literally coming to blows) the Presidency Council headed by Libyan Prime Minister Designate Faiez Serraj has continued its efforts to produce a Government of National Accord for Libya to reunify the country and unite its forces against Islamic State.