The Libyan Prime Minister designate urged on Monday the deputies to the responsibility by placing the confidence in his government, born of a process sponsored by the UNO and which must contribute to get Libya out of chaos by leading it until elections end. December.
Abdel Hamid Dbeibah addressed the 132 deputies (out of 188) of the House of Representatives gathered for a crucial session devoted to the vote of confidence. His government has until March 19 to be approved by the deeply divided elected parliament, which has met very rarely in recent years.
After more than three hours of debate, the meeting was adjourned until Tuesday so that Mr. Dbeibah could come and answer questions from parliamentarians, in particular about the composition of his government.
Parliament is based in Torbouk, in the east, but the meeting was held in Sirte, halfway between the west and the east, two main regions of the country ruled by separate authorities amid interference foreigners.
“I call on the deputies not to miss the opportunity,” Dbeibah said before the start of the session, saying that he hoped to obtain a vote of confidence.
MEPs have in turn criticized the number of portfolios deemed too high, or called for the postponement of the vote until the publication of a report by the UN group of experts expected in mid-March on allegations of corruption weighing on the sponsored process by the UN. Others have instead asked to support Mr. Dbeibah so that he can “unify the country” as quickly as possible.
The government proposed by Mr. Dbeibah, assisted by two Deputy Prime Ministers, one from Cyrenaica (East) and one from Fezzan (South), is made up of 33 portfolios: 27 ministries, including seven sovereigns, and six ministers of state. Their names have not been released.
The UN Support Mission in Libya (Manul) congratulated the deputies for having “convened a reunified session after many years of division and paralysis”, hailing a “historic session” and a “crucial step” for the unification of the country.
Sirte, the hometown of ex-dictator Muammar Gaddafi, is still under the control of the strong man from the east, Khalifa Haftar, and his forces, made up of foreign fighters and mercenaries, among others.
Abdel Hamid Dbeibah, a 61-year-old billionaire from Misrata (West), was appointed interim prime minister on February 5 by 75 Libyan officials from all sides gathered in Geneva under the auspices of the UN, along with a Three-member presidential council headed by Mohamed Al-Manfi, originally from the East.
If he obtains the confidence of the deputies, Mr. Dbeibah will have to unify the institutions of a rich oil country plagued by chaos since the fall of Gaddafi in 2011 and lead the transition until the elections of December 24, scheduled as part of the UN process.
But winning the confidence of a deeply divided Parliament is like an obstacle course: the Government of National Unity (GNA), installed in Tripoli in 2016 and recognized by the UN, has never obtained it.
In case of failure, the vote would go to the delegates of the interlibyan dialogue, the UN process launched in November in Tunis and put into orbit in Geneva.
In the list presented by Mr. Dbeibah, the Ministry of Economy and Industry has been split into two, that of Education into three (Education, Higher Education and Technical Education), while some public bodies are now coupled with a ministry: the National Petroleum Company with a Ministry of Oil and Gas, the General Water Authority with a Ministry of Water Resources …
“To form the government, we took into account the balance between competence and the guarantee of regional inclusion (…), so that the government is truly representative of all Libyans”, argued Mr. . Dbeibah.
The seven sovereign portfolios are distributed among the three provinces: Foreign Affairs for the East; Economy, Trade and Justice for the West; Defense, Interior and Finance for the South.
The future executive must replace both Fayez al-Sarraj’s GNA and the rival power in the East.
Mr. Dbeibah will also have to meet the pressing expectations of Libyans in a country plunged into a serious economic crisis, including shortages of liquidity and gasoline, power cuts and galloping inflation.