Tripoli, 18 November:
The government of Prime Minister Ali Zeidan formally took power from the outgoing government of Abdurrahim Al-Kib at a handover ceremony held today, Wednesday, at the prime minister’s office in Tripoli.
Zeidan’s government was sworn-in at a major ceremony at the National Congress on Wednesday, attended by the majority of Congress, members of the National Transitional Council, the Kib government, and dozens of international dignitaries.
Today was a more low-key and practical affair, in which Prime Minister Zeidan quite literally took office after having signed the transfer papers with Prime Minister Al-Kib.
The rationale behind having two ceremonies as opposed to one has been questioned at a number of levels, but it is understood that the past four days have been used by Zeidan and his ministers as an opportunity to “go over the books” to ensure that nothing major in the Kib government’s affairs was untoward.
Had Zeidan found any serious discrepancies that could have seriously compromised his own administration, it is understood that he could technically have refused to sign into office.
The event took place in the absence of nine of Zeidan’s ministers, eight as a result of investigations by the Integrity Commission – four have been disbarred pending appeal and four more awaiting a final ruling – whilst the minister for Martyr’s Affairs, Sami Saadi, resigned in protest last week at the lack of representation of freedom fighters in the government.
Security for the event was extremely tight, with several dozen well-equipped soldiers taking up positions in and around the prime minister’s office. Local residents were also visited by officials this morning wanting to search house roofs to ensure there were no snipers or other potential threats located there.
At the ceremony, Zeidan thanked Kib and his government for all they had achieved in the past year, whilst Kib wished Zeidan every success for his time in office.
Proceedings were bolstered by the presence of a military band and brought to an end with the national anthem a formal photograph of both administrations standing together. [/restrict]