Thursday, 3 November 2011

NTC appoints a new prime minister

A necessary period of adjustment is taking place in Libya. With the death of Mu'ammar Qadhafi and the declaration of liberation, this period of transition was inevitable. What remains unclear is how the National Transitional Council (NTC) will respond to the challenge of re-establishing Libya both domestically and within the international arena.

On 31st October, the NTC announced the appointment of Dr Abdel-Rahim al-Keib to the post of prime minister. He will face the task of forming a government and a new cabinet to oversee the country until elections are held. Currently, it is planned that elections will take place within eight months.

Al-Keib is well regarded as an even-tempered and pleasant academic who has worked as a professor of electrical engineering internationally for some years. Although he has served in several short-term academic programmes in Libya, most of his teaching has been overseas, which means he has had little to do with Libyan politics and Qadhafi's regime. He has also served as an adviser on Libya and has acted as a private sector entrepreneur. Al-Keib thus has a broad grounding in the applied technical field.

His contribution is expected to come from his mediation efforts, which he will be required to put to use if his government is to move along the constitutional settlement process. His family originates from Tripoli but he has roots in Sabrata. He is, therefore, not without knowledge of the tribal difficulties, and should be able to play a positive part in this area of change.

One of the major hurdles that his cabinet will have to overcome in establishing security and stability is the armed militia groups who had been united in their drive to oust Qadhafi. With scant central command, there has been little direction of revolutionary fighters returning from battle or protecting their liberated cities. Despite reported efforts to arrange a military chain of command, it would appear that none such has yet been established.

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

© 2011 Menas Associates

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