Tripoli, 28 September:
Mustafa Abushagur has sought to quash rumours that Mahmoud Jibril’s National Forces Alliance has backed out of joining his cabinet, saying that the coalition “will support the government”.
The Prime Minister-elect told reporters yesterday that he had been in touch with the NFA leader and that discussions were still ongoing.
“I have contacted Dr Jibril along with the leaders of several other parties and all have said they will support the government”, Abushagur said, adding that he had not been able to meet with Jibril in person over the past few days as he had been abroad.
He said that the NFA’s general secretary, Faisal Krekshi, was keen for Jibril to return from Egpyt in order to discuss the matter fully.
Abushagur failed to meet yesterday’s 27 September deadline imposed by the National Congress to form a government and has asked for an extension of ten days.
The Congress has agreed, but warned Abushagur that failure to form a government by 7 October would result in his dismissal as prime minister-elect.
Having committed to forming a government of national unity, the politician is under considerable strain to reach agreement with the numerous different political and regional factions seeking to be involved.
Yesterday he revealed that he had received “hundreds” of applications to join the government, and that a technical committee had been established to review them.
Abushagur’s job has been said to have been made still more difficult by the wavering commitment of the NFA to participate in the process.
Last week, Jibril hinted at his unhappiness with negotiations when he said that his alliance would have no part in any government “if [it] is only needed to make up numbers, or to show off”.
Being part of any government that did not seek to implement the pledges made by the NFA to the Libyan people would, Jibril said, “be a waste of time”.
The Prime Minister-elect insisted, however, that discussions with all the major parties and several independents within Congress were ongoing, and that he would have his government choices ready for submission to the Congress by the agreed deadline. [/restrict]