Libya Lawmakers Approve First Unified Government Since 2014
(Bloomberg) -- Libyan lawmakers approved the country’s first unified government in about seven years, overcoming a major hurdle in a fragile political reconciliation that’s supposed to end almost a decade of conflict.
Lawmakers overwhelmingly backed Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Mohammed Dbeibah’s proposed transitional administration during a third joint session of the North African nation’s two rival assemblies.
The new cabinet will have to work quickly to bridge political divides and restore key services in the OPEC member that’s been in turmoil since a NATO-backed revolt ousted dictator Muammar al-Qaddafi in 2011. The country has been split between dueling eastern and western administrations since 2014.
“The war will not be repeated,” Dbeibah told lawmakers after the vote, urging Libyans to “open your hearts” in the push for reconciliation.
Dbeibah, an influential businessman chosen as premier by delegates to a United Nations-supported forum in Geneva, will work alongside a three-member presidency council in an administration that’s supposed to rule until elections in December.
The new cabinet includes 26 ministries, six state ministers and two deputy prime ministers, with women accounting for 15% of positions. Dbeibah said Tuesday he will head the defense ministry until “discussions are held and a personality acceptable to all parties is reached.”
Reining in the country’s myriad heavily armed militias will be a major challenge for his adminstration, which must also appease powerful figures who feel they’ve been sidelined by the UN-backed process.
A unified government could mean stability for oil in Libya, which is home to Africa’s largest reserves but has seen output stall due to repeated fighting and closures. The chairman of the National Oil Corp, Mustafa Sanalla, told Bloomberg Television on Tuesday that production will increase to 1.45 million barrels per day by the end of 2021.
The new government restores an oil and gas ministry scrapped by the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord. A former Libyan representative to OPEC, Mohamed Aoun, will head the portfolio.
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