The new slimmed-down “National Salvation Government” of Tripoli prime minister Khalifa Ghwell faces a revolt from a number of deputy ministers in his earlier administration. According to a leading official in Tripoli who asked to remain anonymous, the deputies are refusing to go.
In a cabinet reshuffle announced on 1 December, there are now just 12 ministries, each with just one deputy minister as well as the minister. In Ghwell’s previous administration, most ministries had several deputy ministers.
So far there, however, has been no announcement of the names of the 12 new deputies from Ghwell’s office.
It is not only deputies who are said to be refusing to quit. Tripoli’s oil minister, Mashallah Zwai is also reported to be refusing to go. The ministry was one of the many that was reduced to the status of an administration in the reshuffle. As with the deputies, the heads of the administrations or their remits, has not been announced.
The legality of Ghwell’s new “government” has been challenged by a number of Libyan figures, including Mohamed Sawan, leader of the Justice and Construction Party on the basis that there was no formal meeting of the General National Congress to approve it. GNC leader Nuri Abu Sahmain now refuses to allow meetings, fearing that members might sack him or approve the UN-brokered Libya Dialogue agreement. A majority is said to support it. The result is that GNC “decisions” are taken by him personally or by small group of his supporters convened by him – a rump of what is itself a rump body.
Sawan has described the new administration as “meaningless” and “worthless”.
Evidence of that and of its inability to govern even Tripoli daily becomes more obvious, with almost no security in the city. Kidnappings and robbery are now a daily occurrence, and residents are staying at home as much as possible for safety.