TRIPOLI, Oct 8, 2012 (AFP) -
TRIPOLI, Oct 8, 2012 (AFP) –
Libya’s dismissed premier Mustafa Abu Shagur appears to have paid the price for an unlikely rapprochement between liberals and Islamists planning to form a government of national unity.
The two biggest parties in the national assembly, Mahmud Jibril’s liberal National Forces Alliance (NFA) and the Justice and Construction Party (JCP) spawned by the Muslim Brotherhood, joined forces on Sunday to ensure the success of a vote of no confidence in the premier.
Abu Shagur, who had offered the assembly a crisis cabinet of 10 ministers three days after his first line-up of 26 was rejected, blamed his ouster on his refusal to bow to the demands of the two parties for control of a raft of ministries.
An NFA official told AFP that his party and the JCP had decided to pull the plug on Abu Shagur so that they could form a national unity government headed by an independent in order to secure control of more ministries than they would have under his leadership.
The possibility of such a national unity government was discussed on Monday by members of the General National Congress, the national assembly, when they met in a televised debate on the appointment of a new prime minister.
The pressure is on to resolve the impasse because one of the chief tasks of the GNC, which was elected on July 7, is to ensure the appointment of a transitional government to run the country for 12 months until elections can be held on the basis of a new constitution.
Abu Shagur, who was elected as prime minister on September 12, was seen as close to Islamists. The backing of the JCP, whose own candidate lost the first round, gave him a two-point victory over Jibril in the run-off vote.
But he vehemently denied that he was in league with the Islamists, and was elected premier on an independent ticket.
“Is everyone convinced now that I am not part of the Muslim Brotherhood?” wrote Abu Shagur on microblogging site Twitter after the national assembly the motion of no confidence, which was supported by 126 of its 200 members.
A source close to the toppled prime minister told AFP that “Abu Shagur knew his government team would be rejected even before he pitched the new cabinet to the assembly.”
Analysts had said Abu Shagur faced an uphill task in forming a new government that satisfies all regions and political tendencies while also tackling security issues such as strengthening the army and disbanding illegitimate militias.
The premier spoke bitterly when he presented his proposed cabinet to the assembly on Sunday.
“It is unfortunate that I am not worthy of the confidence of some because I refused to meet their unrealistic demands,” he declared.
“When I started to amend the composition of the government, I tried to contact the political parties in vain because they had already decided to withdraw their confidence,” he added.
“The first government was not perfect. And we should have discussed and modified it… (But) the demands made by the representatives were unrealistic: some wanted specific ministries for their region,” Abu Shagur said.
The technocrat also accused assembly members and political blocs of blackmail, noting that one party had asked for 11 ministers and another for nine, demands he refused to meet out of principle.
The NFA, a coalition of smaller parties led by one of the architects of the 2011 revolt against slain leader Moamer Kadhafi, holds 39 of the 80 seats reserved for parties in the national assembly.
The JCP is the second largest force with 17 seats.
The remaining 120 seats in the national assembly are held by independent representatives whose allegiances remain largely unknown.