By Hadi Fornaji.
Tripoli, 4 August 2013:
Awad Barasi has resigned as Second Deputy Prime Minister. He made his announcement at . . .[restrict]a press conference last night in Benghazi, accusing the government of failing to run the country. He blamed it for the lack of security that has seen a string of assassinations and attempted assassinations in recent days.
Barasi did not inform the Prime Minister, Ali Zeidan, about his decision beforehand. He is reported by the Libyan news agency LANA, saying that the first he knew of it was when he heard about the press conference. He has, however, said that he accepts the resignation.
There were reports in the spring that Barasi planed to resign but was dissuaded from doing so by Zeidan.
Compared to his conspicuous presence at public events and on TV earlier this year, he has been noticeably low profile since the end of April – around the time the ministries of Foreign Affairs and of Justice were besieged by militants demanding Congress pass the Political Isolation Law. Many of them were said to be involved with the Muslim Brotherhood and the Justice and Construction Party (J&C) to which it is linked, and which supported the law.
Barasi is a member of the J&C.
There is intense speculation as to why he has quit at this particular time. Many see the resignation as an attempt to position himself to challenge Zeidan for the premiership. He has a reputation as being politically ambitious, but was rejected by Congress in September last year when stood for the post of prime minister in a fight against Mustafa Abushagur.
Others see the move as a attempt to distance himself from the growing public disenchantment with the Muslim Brotherhood, particularly since the assassination in Benghazi just over a week ago of the popular Libyan political activist, Abdulsalam Musmari.
The Brotherhood has denied that it had anything to do with the killing and has vigorously condemned the spate of assassinations but this appears not to have cut much ice with many Libyans. [/restrict]