by Dominique Soguel
by Dominique Soguel
TRIPOLI, April 29, 2012 (AFP)
The fate of Libya’s interim government was to be discussed at a high level meeting on Sunday, less than two months before the first national elections since the fall of Moamer Kadhafi’s regime.
“The fate of the government will be discussed,” said the ruling National Transitional Council (NTC) spokesman, Mohammed al-Harizi, ahead of a closed door meeting on Sunday. He said he expected some ministerial posts to change.
Several NTC members have publically attacked interim Prime Minister Abdel Rahim al-Kib, threatening to cast a no confidence vote and accusing his cabinet of weakness and inability to take difficult decisions, such as disbanding militias.
A visibly vexed Kib on Wednesday accused the NTC of hindering his efforts to hold elections for a constituent assembly on time and issued a vigorous defense of his government.
“In this historic moment, we find ourselves shackled by members of the National Transitional Council, who continue to attack the government and threaten to cast a no confidence vote,” Kib said.
Since its appointment in November last year, the interim government has achieved an increase in overall security and the return of oil production to near pre-revolution levels, he said.
For his part, interim leader, Mustafa Abdel Jalil, has warned against the consequences of a reshuffle, noting elections are only two months away and that replacing ministerial posts could “take weeks.”
Some speculate the decision has been taken already but not made public.
On Friday, Health Minister Fatima Hamush posted on her Facebook page that the decision to sack Kib and five of his ministers had already been taken.
The ministers of defence, health and interior have come under scrutiny following tribal conflicts and the discovery of massive fraud in compensation schemes for former rebels who fought Kadhafi’s forces.
Several NTC members have been pushing to get rid of Kib too.
On Saturday, government spokesman Nasser al-Manaa said a ministerial reshuffle was already on the cards and slammed the NTC’s pressure tactics.
“The NTC has the right to withdraw its confidence or reshuffle ministers but this should not be played out in the media,” he told AFP.
The crisis between the two branches of government calls into question the country’s capacity to organise elections for a constituent assembly in June.
“What is going on right now is a complex opportunity to pass the buck,” as neither side wants to be held responsible if the poll is pushed back, said Jason Pack, a researcher at Cambridge University.
“What the Libyans really need is just the veneer of legitimacy — they need to get on with it and have elections,” said Pack, who is also president of Libya-Analysis.com.