Libya PM reshuffles cabinet


Libya’s UN-backed Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj changed the interior minister and reshuffled other cabinet posts in a move seen as a bid to broaden support and bolster security in the capital after weeks of clashes.

Tripoli has been hit by fighting between rival armed groups competing over access to public funds and power, part of chaos in Libya since the toppling of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

Violence started when some factions outside the capital attacked four factions linked to the Tripoli government late in August.

The United Nations has been trying to impose a ceasefire by calling for a broader security arrangement.

In the reshuffle, Serraj appointed Fathi Ali Bashagha interior minister. He comes from Misrata and is close to its armed groups, some of which took part in the Tripoli clashes.

Government also named a new economy and industry minister, Ali Abdulaziz Issawi, from Benghazi in eastern Libya, home to a rival administration. Issawi is a veteran figure from the rebels who toppled Gaddafi.

Serraj spokesman Mohamed al-Salak told Reuters the changes were made “in the context of promoting economic and security reforms.” He did not elaborate.

The UN mission to Libya, UNSMIL, said on Twitter it was ready to “support new ministers to implement new security arrangements inTripoli, to move forward with economic reforms and to seek unification of Libyan national institutions.”

Megerisi, a visiting fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations, said Serraj was seeking to broaden his support as the United Nations works to unify rival bodies to prepare Libya for elections.
“The appointment of Bashagha could be an attempt to ensure Misrata continues to support the work of the committee to implement security provisions and keep Misrata on board,” he said.

The decree appointed Faraj Bomtari as finance minister and Bashir al-Qantri as youths and sport minister.

Ministers struggle to make an impact as the country is effectively controlled by armed groups.

Government is expected to announce a package of security arrangements including withdrawal of armed groups from ministries and state institutions after the recent clashes.