TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Protesters stormed the headquarters of Libya’s national congress on Thursday angry about the new prime minister’s proposed government line-up, saying it was not fully representative of the North African country.
Between 100 and 150 demonstrators from the western town of Zawiyah walked into the main room where congress meets, forcing the cancellation of a special session to study Prime Minister-elect Mustafa Abushagur’s nominations for his transitional government.
Abushagur nominated his cabinet on Wednesday for approval by the national congress, presenting a line-up that excluded the leading liberal coalition.
“After we heard the list, everyone in Zawiyah was angry. Some even began protesting in Zawiyah’s main square last night,” said Nuri Shambi, who travelled the 50 kms (30 miles) from Zawiyah to the capital Tripoli to voice his anger.
“Abushagur said he would form a coalition government, that he would look at experience. Zawiyah proposed candidates for oil minister, but he’s brought in someone who is not well known.”
Abushagur’s line-up includes many unknown names, including that of proposed oil minister, Mabrouk Issa Abu Harroura.
The line-up is said to include several members of the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood. There are no candidates from the liberal National Forces Alliance, Ibrahim al-Gharyani, head of the liberal coalition in congress, told Reuters.
The protesters eventually left the hall but remained outside. “We don’t accept this list, there seems to be just one ideology represented,” protester Ibrahim Gdara said.
The congress had been due to start voting on each candidate on Thursday and the appointees could still change. After the interruption, the session was postponed until later on Thursday.
Reporting by Ali Shuaib; Writing by Marie-Louise Gumuchian; Editing by Janet Lawrence