Friday, 27 May 2011

Libya: Transitional National Council reshuffles

On 12th May, the Transitional National Council (TNC) had a major reshuffle and created a new body, the executive board, with portfolios allocated across the main sectors. It is believed that it chose the term executive board to avoid accusations that it was trying to become a government in waiting.

The executive board chair is Mahmoud Jibril, the former head of the National Planning Council, who had been prominent in the TNC as number two in the pecking order. Jibril, who is also responsible for international affairs, seems to be emerging as the most important figure within the opposition, fast overshadowing council head Mustafa Jalil.

Although the retiring Jalil has stepped up his game in recent weeks, and in response to criticism of his leadership style has been more active, he still does not have the leadership qualities of Jibril.

Former finance secretary and ambassador to India Ali al-Issawi has been made Jibril's deputy on the executive board. Ali al-Tarhuni has been given responsibility for finance and oil. Al-Tarhuni, an economist from Tarhouna, was involved in the student opposition in the early days of Qadhafi's revolution, causing him to flee Libya in 1973. He was later sentenced to death in absentia.

He settled in the US, where he gained a PhD from Michigan State University. In 1985 he took up a post as senior lecturer in business economics at the University of Washington, where by all accounts he was a popular figure, known for his engaging teaching style and his wit. His wife is a lawyer with the Washington State attorney general's office.

While in the US, al-Tarhuni continued to be active in the Libyan opposition abroad and he was a member of the political committee of the National Conference of the Libyan Opposition, established at a major opposition conference held in London in June 2005.

So far, al-Tarhuni has gained a reputation for being one of the few opposition appointees willing to speak frankly about the movement's shortcomings and challenges.

Abdullah Shamia has been made responsible for economics. Shamia graduated from Benghazi University in 1973 with a degree in economics. He also spent time in the United States, gaining a PhD in the philosophy of economy from Washington University in 1984. He returned to Libya and in 1997 was appointed a professor of economy at Gar Younis University in Benghazi.

Shamia, who has been an advocate of privatisation and economic restructuring, was also a senior figure in the Libyan Muslim Brotherhood and a member of its shura council. He was arrested in 1998 in the regime's mass campaign against the Brotherhood and convicted of belonging to a banned organisation. He was released in 2006 along with some 100 members of the group through Saif al-Islam's 'reform and repent' programme for Islamist prisoners.

Mustafa Jalil remains as head of the TNC but Abdelhafed Abdelkader Ghoga, who is also spokesman for the council, has been made his deputy.

It is not clear how the TNC and its executive board interact. However, the TNC is the over-arching body that is supposed to represent all of Libya and to lead the country until elections are held – and as such is more akin to a kind of parliament – while the executive board operates more like a government.

Transitional National Council

Mustafa Mohammed Abdul Jalil Chair
Abdelhafed Abdelkader Ghoga Vice-chair, spokesman, and representative of Benghazi
Othman Suleiman El-Megyrahi Batnan area
Ashour Hamed Bourashed Derna
Zubiar Ahmed El-Sharif Representative of political prisoners
Ahmed Abduraba al-Abaar Economics
Fathi Mohamed Baja Political affairs and Benghazi
Suleiman al-Fortiya Misrata
Mohamed al-Muntasir Misrata
Fathi Terbil Youth
Salwa Fawzi El-Deghali Legal and women's affairs
Abdelallah Moussa El-Myehoub Legal and women's affairs and Qouba area
Omar Hariri Military affairs
TNC executive board

Mahmoud Jibril Chair and head of international affairs
Ali al-Issawi Vice-chair
Ahmed Hussein al-Darrat Internal affairs and local government
Mahmoud Shamam Media
Naji Barakat Health
Mohammed al-Allagi Justice and human rights
Hania al-Gumati Health
Abdullah Shamia Economics
Ali al-Tarhuni Finance and oil
Anwar al-Faytouri Transport and communications
Abulgassim Nimr Environment
Attia al-Aujali Culture and community
Abdulsalam al-Shikhy Religious affairs and endowments
Ahmed al-Jehani Reconstruction and infrastructure
TBD Education.

For more news and expert analysis about Libya, please see Libya Focus and Libya Politics & Security.

© 2011 Menas Associates

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