Thursday, 1 December 2011

Libya: Reaction to El-Keib's new cabinet remains mixed

The domestic reaction to Prime Minister Abdurrahim El-Keib's new cabinet has continued to be mixed, although the majority opinion is probably negative. There has been quiet criticism of what is perceived as a largely weak body.

One of the reasons for this is that the new ministers had to declare that they had no future political ambitions. This had the result that those powerful individuals who want to take part in the 2012 elections, or the subsequent presidential elections, could not be part of the interim government.

While the international community is relieved that there are no major Islamic figures in key portfolios, the domestic audience has found plenty to criticise.

In particular, it is rumoured that the Berber population, which felt itself very badly treated during Colonel Mu'ammar Qadhafi's rule, is unhappy with their lack of representation in the cabinet in which Misrata alone has 5-6 ministers. So, too, is the east, and particularly Benghaz, which argues that it was the cradle of the revolution but has once again been marginalised.

Reported Berber protests, particularly in Benghazi and Tripoli, culminated in a forced meeting between their representatives and Prime Minister El-Keib on 27th November. Rumours maintain that, despite the meeting, the Berber/Amazigh Council of the predominantly Berber Zuwara area has temporarily broken with the National Transitional Council (NTC), although this has not been officially confirmed.

There have also been rumours that Youth and Sports Minister Fathi Terbi resigned his post after two days. According to several reports, he resigned on 25th November following public opposition to his appointment.

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

© 2011 Menas Associates

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