By Libya Herald reporter.
Tunis, 2 February 2016:
The Presidency Council has decided to move tomorrow, Wednesday, from Tunis to Skhirat where it . . .[restrict]will work on a new list of government ministers to present to the House of Representatives (HoR). According to the head of the Council’s media office, Fathi Ben Issa, it is unclear how long it will stay in the in Moroccan resort.
Skhirat was where members of the Libya Dialogue hammered out the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA), signed in December.
The Presidency Council had been encouraged by activists and diplomats to relocate there, away from hustle and pressure from the Libyan political figures and activists who crowded the hotel in the Tunis resort of Gammarth where the Council had been meeting, lobbying for positions.
The Council is not expected to approve the new government before 10 February. According to Ben Issa, formal notification of the HoR’s rejection of its previous list and a demand that a government with fewer ministries be presented within ten days was received only on 31 January. He added that while the HoR had called for a smaller cabinet, it had not specified how many ministers it should contain.
The HoR rejected the list of 32 ministers as too big on 25 January and it was initially reported that Serraj planned to submit a new list by Thursday 4 February.
HoR spokesman Faraj Buhashim, however, has indicated that the parliament expects the new government to be submitted by next Monday, 8 February, when it intends to vote on it. In Rome, at today’s meeting of the Global Coalition to Counter Daesh, US Secretary of State John Kerry concurred with the timeline, saying that the government had “to be submitted to the parliament, the House of Representatives, maybe next Monday or Tuesday”.
According to sources linked to Council, it has not formally started talking about the new government as yet, although it is claimed that some members are still determined on a large cabinet. At yesterday’s and today’s meetings in Gammarth, it spent the time discussing Serraj’s controversial meeting with Khalifa Hafter in Marj on Saturday and the move to Skhirat.
While in Skhirat, the Council is expected to review with the Dialogue team the current difficulties resulting from the Marj meeting and the differences over the number of ministries in the government.
The Council remains bitterly divided over the Hafter visit although none of those opposed to it have followed Mohamed Ammari’s lead and suspended their membership over it. However, in a further demonstration of the lack of unity, Abdelsalam Kajman, one of the deputy prime ministers-designate and widely perceived as pro-Muslim Brotherhood, went on TV to criticise the meeting saying that it had not been done with Council’s knowledge and did not represent its views. The Council would, however, continue to work to ensure the a government was produced in line with the LPA.
Separately, Salah Makhzoum, the deputy General National Congress president invited back to the Libya Dialogue by UN Special Envoy Martin Kobler and who in his GNC capacity signed the LPA, has also criticised the meeting. [/restrict]