Libya’s new PM delays naming Cabinet as deadline looms

CAIRO (AP) — Libya’s newly elected prime minister failed to name members of a much-anticipated Cabinet ahead of an expected deadline on Thursday, raising questions over whether his transitional government can unite Libya’s factions.

Prime Minister designate Abdul Hamid Mohammed Dbeibah was set to announce his Cabinet in a news conference from the capital, Tripoli, and send it to Libya’s House of Representatives for approval.

Instead, Dbeibah told reporters he only shared with Libyan lawmakers proposed guidelines for the selection of Cabinet members and an outline of his priorities in the coming period.

Appointing the Cabinet is part of a United Nations (UN)-backed transitional roadmap, which envisages holding general elections in the war-torn North African country by the end of the year.

Since 2015, Libyan state institutions have been divided between two administrations: One in the east and another in the west, each supported by a vast array of militias and foreign governments. “We are ready to submit the names (of Cabinet ministers) but we should consult among ourselves and examine candidate names meticulously,” Dbeibah told reporters in Tripoli without specifying when he will actually make the submission.

Dbeibah said he envisages a Cabinet of technocrats who would represent Libya’s different geographic areas and social segments.

“These are critical times and we are taking into consideration that the Cabinet must genuinely achieve national unity and seek consensus and reconciliation,” he said.

He added that the country’s sovereign ministerial portfolios should be equally divided between candidates from Libya’s three key geographic areas in the east, the west and the south.

Earlier this month, Dbeibah was elected as prime minister by Libyan delegates at a UN sponsored conference near Geneva.

Prime Minister designate of Libya Abdul Hamid Mohammed Dbeibah. PHOTO: AP