By George Grant.
Tripoli, 25 November:
Prime Minister Ali Zeidan has announced that all deputy ministers of the Kib Government have been relieved of their duties. The decision follows a pledge by the prime minister to appoint new deputy ministers following his election on 14 October.
“All the deputy ministers will be out of service in the next few days”, said government spokesman Mohammed Alsabbee. “This is a logical step. We have new ministers and the old deputy ministers will now be handing over their responsibilities”.
Alsabbee said that no decision had yet been made on who the replacements would be, adding that the decision would not necessarily be made by Zeidan himself: “Under proposals currently being considered, it is possible that ministers will be authorised to select their own deputies”.
Should this latter course be adopted, it is likely that Zeidan’s ambition for the government to have regional representatives of all areas of Libya will be more difficult to attain. It was widely believed that many deputy ministers would be selected to fulfil this criteria, but this will be much harder to control if ministers get to choose their own deputies directly.
As yet, it appears that the decision to dismiss all deputy ministers has yet to be announced to some of the individuals themselves.
“I have heard nothing about this at all”, said Deputy Agriculture Minister Adnan Jibril, when asked by the Libya Herald to day if he knew of the decision. “As far as I am concerned, I still have a job to do”.
Ali Zeidan’s new Minister of Agriculture, Ahmed Ayad Ali Al-Urfi, is one of four ministers still under investigation by the Integrity Commission, and Alsabbee admitted that some uncertainty still surrounded the status of deputy ministers in the affected departments.
“Perhaps for the ministries involved in the integrity commission investigations it will be different. But it will be ten days maximum until everything is finalised.
Zeidan’s Foreign Minister Ali Al-Aujali is another of the ministers under investigaton, and Alsabbee also revealed that until such time as a minister can be found, the foreign portfolio will be taken on by Minister for International Cooperation Mohammed Abdulaziz.
In total, there are presently nine ministries without a minister in the Zeidan government. Four ministers have been disbarred by the Integrity Commission, the proposed Interior Minister Ashour Suleiman Shuwail, Electricity Minister Ali Mohammed Muhairiq, Higher Education Minister Abdulasalm Bashir Duabi and Congressional Relations Minister Muaz Fathi Al-Khoja.
The four still under investigation by the Commission are Aujali, Urfi, Social Affairs Minister Kamla Khamis Al-Mazini, and Religious Affairs Minister Abdulsalam Mohammed Abusaad.
The ninth minister, Sami Al-Saadi, who held the portfolio for Martyrs and Missing, resigned his position over marginalisation of what he called “important” groups in Libya, widely believed to have been a reference to the revolutionaries.