- Special Pages
TRIPOLI: Libya’s national assembly gave its approval yesterday to a cabinet presented by prime minister designate Ali Zeidan weeks after rejecting his predecessor’s line-up.
But in a sign of the fragility of the country’s transition to democracy a year after the overthrow of veteran dictator Moamer Kadhafi, protests erupted around the assembly building for a second day in a row.
Zeidan, the second premier designate to try to form a government since the assembly was elected in July, had presented a 30-member line-up including both liberals and Islamists.
“The General National Congress gives its confidence to the government of Ali Zeidan,” the official LANA news agency reported.
A total of 105 members voted in favour, 18 abstained and nine voted against.
Protests erupted outside the assembly moments after the vote, witnesses said.
Security forces fired in the air as they struggled to prevent a repetition of chaotic scenes on Tuesday evening when demonstrators broke into the chamber derailing a first attempt at a vote.
“There are demonstrators outside the building and security forces are trying to keep them at bay,” said Salah Mohammed Hassan, a representative from the eastern town of Darna.
More than a dozen security vehicles were stationed outside the assembly building and a throng of about 60 people had gathered outside the main gate which was shut tight, a photographer reported.
There were no visible efforts to negotiate with the crowd but a security source contacted inside the building said the situation was “under control.”
Zeidan was elected on October 14 after his predecessor, Mustafa Abu Shagur, was dismissed in a vote of no confidence as the assembly rejected his proposed line-up as unrepresentative of Libya’s numerous factions.
Zeidan, a long-time Kadhafi opponent, needed the assembly’s approval for his cabinet line-up so that he can assume office replacing Abdel Rahim Al Kib, who has served as prime minister since November last year.
Assembly members can still put forward objections to individual cabinet nominees and the suitability of several has already been called into question, assembly sources said.
Zeidan’s programme puts heavy emphasis on reforming the army and police, which remain heavily dependent on the myriad of former rebel militias that have yet to be brought under unified command since last year’s uprising.