Libya leaders supported by "money, arms, PR"-ex-premier
Thu Nov 24, 2011 9:42pm GMT
* Ex-premier says economic issues a major challenge
* Says NTC failed to bring militias into an army
* Tarhouni says turned down post of finance minister
TRIPOLI, Nov 24 (Reuters) - One of the most senior figures in Libya's
outgoing government has denounced its leaders as an unelected elite,
supported by "money, arms and PR," and warned that 90 percent of Libya is
Outgoing acting Prime Minister Ali Tarhouni's comments were the strongest
criticism to date by a senior politician of the country's new rulers, who
led the rebellion that ended Muammar Gaddafi's 42-year rule and have been in
charge since his fall.
The National Transitional Council (NTC) also had a say in Prime Minister
Abdurrahim El-Keib's provisional government line-up, which was announced on
Tuesday and mandated to steer the country towards democracy.
"The voices that we see now are the voices of the elite, the voices of the
NTC who are not elected and the voices of other people who are supported by
the outside by money, arms and PR," Tarhouni said on Thursday, hours after a
new cabinet was formed.
"It's about time we heard the true voices of the masses ... we need to start
rebuilding this democratic constitutional movement," he told a news
Tarhouni was in charge of the oil and finance portfolios in Libya's outgoing
transitional government and briefly served as acting prime minister until
Thursday, when a new cabinet was sworn in.
Having been a frontrunner for a post as finance minister in Keib's cabinet
until the eleventh hour, Tarhouni said he had been asked to join but
declined due to the challenges of the transitional period and because he
wanted to speak freely.
"I see danger for the sovereignty of Libya. I see a threat for the wealth of
the Libyan people," Tarhouni told reporters, without elaborating.
"I see the economic issues as a major challenge," he added.
Tarhouni said that NTC had "failed miserably" in melding the myriad armed
militias that still roam the country into an official national army.
Listing the many security and economic challenges that lie ahead for a
nascent government as the country emerges from a bloody civil war, he said
the safety of oil installations was a critical issue.
"My hope that the new government will take this issue seriously," he said.
However, Tarhouni repeatedly wished the new line up "success" and said "they
should be given a chance."
On Tuesday, the NTC named a cabinet favouring appointees who will soothe
rivalries between regional factions, but specific groups, including the
Amazigh, or Berber, have boycotted the new government complaining of the
lack of representation. (Editing by Sophie Hares)
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Received on Thu Nov 24 2011 - 17:35:45 EST