Libya’s NTC indefinitely postpone forming new government

By Khadija Patel 20 September 2011

All is not rosy in the new Libya. Gaddafi remains elusive and forces loyal to him continue to take the battle to the National Transitional Council (NTC)’s forces. After widespread expectation that a transitional government would be formed last weekend, the NTC announced on Monday that it had decided to postpone the formation of an interim government – indefinitely. The NTC is clearly not as united as previously claimed. Infighting will severely damage efforts to reconstruct Libya.  By KHADIJA PATEL.

Just one day after the United Nations recognised the NTC as Libya’s interim government, interim Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril revealed that his proposal for a new Cabinet did not receive unanimous backing from council members. Jibril, former head of Gaddafi’s National Economic Development Board, is widely believed to be part of the problem.

A post by a disgruntled Libyan in British publication The Telegraph relates how some Libyans view Jibril as the American choice for Libyan leadership. This particular Libyan voice argues that some rebels “(object) to become subservient to Western installed appointees who sat in plush desks in Benghazi and are pushed now to top positions in a post-Gaddafi Libya”.  Embittered NTC officials accuse  Jibril of failing to consult with the “grassroots” of the opposition movement, but the official NTC position insists that disagreements over the assignment of portfolios have delayed the formation of the government. Jibril has himself smoothed over reports of dissension in the NTC ranks saying “much has been achieved to mete out several portfolios”.

The African Union’s requirement that a transitional government be fully representative of all the varying factions that make up Libya is not likely to be easily realised. The formation of a government is the first step in assuring all Libyans feel adequately represented in their leadership. As well as tribes that may have once boasted loyalty to Gaddafi, the position of Islamists in the new Libya is also a touchy issue. Much to the chagrin of Western leaders, the NTC has been under pressure to appoint Islamist figures in the Cabinet to reflect their role in the revolution. Shelving plans for the government indefinitely may take the pressure off Jibril for now, but it will have to be addressed eventually – one way, or another. DM

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