New Libya PM presents coalition government to congress

TRIPOLI Tue Oct 30, 2012 5:37am EDT

Ali Zeidan speaks during a conference on Libya, in Doha May 11, 2011. REUTERS/Mohammed Dabbous

Ali Zeidan speaks during a conference on Libya, in Doha May 11, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Mohammed Dabbous

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TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan presented his government line-up to the national congress for approval on Tuesday, saying he had formed a "coalition government" which included representatives from the country's two major political parties.

In a televised session of congress, Zeidan said he had nominated Ali Aujali, Libya's ambassador to the United States, to be foreign minister, and Abdelbari al-Arusi to be oil minister.

In a country where regional rivalries are rife, he said no area had been favoured more than any other.

"No region has been favoured over any other, the whole nation has been favoured," he told congress.

His government was made up of 27 ministers, he said, saying it would be replaced if it did not perform. Zeidan appointed three deputy prime ministers.

Mohammed al-Barghathi was named defence minister, while Ashur Shuwail was named interior minister. Zeidan named Ali al-Fasi as finance minister.

He said those posts - as well as the foreign and justice minister portfolios - would be filled by independents who were not affiliated to any party.

Zeidan said the liberal National Forces Alliance and the Muslim Brotherhood's political wing, the Justice and Construction Party, the two biggest parties in congress, were both represented in the putative government.

Zeidan was elected prime minister by the congress earlier this month after his predecessor, Mustafa Abushagur, was dismissed in a vote of no confidence after his choice of government ministers ran into opposition inside and outside the assembly.

A former career diplomat who defected in the 1980s to become an outspoken critic of Muammar Gaddafi, Zeidan had been tight-lipped about the composition of his cabinet as he faced the daunting challenge of forming a government that would be acceptable to the country's many factions.

Congress will vote on the proposed line-up.

(Reporting by Ghaith Shennib; Editing by Andrew Osborn)

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