Africa

Libya's unity government nominated

  • 19 January 2016
  • From the section Africa
Awad Mohammed Abdul-Sadiq (L), first deputy head of the Tripoli-based General National Congress and Ibrahim Fethi Amish from Libya's internationally recognised House of Representatives exchange signed documents aimed at ending the deadlock in Libya. Image copyright AFP
Image caption Some groups still oppose the proposed agreement

Members of Libya's proposed national unity government have been named under a UN-brokered deal aimed at uniting the country's warring factions.

The 32 names will be sent to the internationally recognised parliament in the eastern city of Tobruk for approval.

But only seven members of the Tunis-based Presidency Council have signed the document.

Libya has been in chaos since the 2011 overthrow of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.

The country has two rival parliaments, and the UN is urging them both to endorse the proposed unity government.

Both parliaments are backed by different armed groups and there is still substantial opposition towards the new administration.

The Presidency Council was agreed in December following UN-backed talks. It is made up of the prime minister, his five deputies and three ministers of state.

A source close to Deputy Prime Minister Ali Algetrani told the BBC that the proposed cabinet was "illegitimate" because it had not been unanimously agreed by the council.

Members of the council are still based in Tunisia because of the instability in Libya.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Libya has been plagued by instability since Col Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown in 2011

Western nations hope the formation of the new government will help bring stability and tackle the growing threat of the so-called Islamic State group (IS).

IS militants have taken advantage of the political vacuum to expand their presence in the country.


Analysis: Rana Jawad, BBC North Africa correspondent, Tunis

The political divisions are piling up under sustained pressure from the international community to get a unity government in place.

At this stage, it appears as though the cabinet was proposed for the sake of meeting deadlines, and out of fear of losing political momentum that could make Libya's new leaders irrelevant.

The nine-member council that decided on the names did not unanimously approve this proposed cabinet, including the deputy prime minister representing eastern Libya, the legislative body based there and the region's military actors.

Given these realities, it is difficult to see how this cabinet will be endorsed by the parliament. In the run-up to the proposal, one Libyan aptly summarised it as: "A selected cabinet with no cohesiveness might as well not bother turning up at the starting line."

Some will argue that Libya's security and economy are the "finishing-line" and it cannot afford any delays. But if deadlines come at the cost of creating further divisions, there will be even bigger problems to deal with.