Khalifa al-Ghawi has been appointed Prime Minister of the General National Congress (GNC), the ruling body in Western Libya, after his predecessor Omar al-Hassi was dismissed in late March. Amongst the reasons for al Hassi’s removal were allegations that he misled Parliament in financial matters. The GNC Department of Public Information published a statement by the Audit Bureau that refuted al-Hassi’s claims that the Central Bank of Libya has more than LYD 100 billion in cash to deal with the financial crisis in the country.
The former deputy Prime Minister Khalifa al-Ghawi, an engineer from Misrata, has replaced al-Hassi. Speaking to a representative from the Next Century Foundation (NCF), Suleiman al-Fortia, the member of the Libyan National Transitional Council representing Misrata explained that in light of the recent violence and war in Libya, governmental bodies have become almost obsolete. He went on to say: ‘Al-Ghawi filled an institutional void. He is very humble and never expected that he would ever be in a position like this. I am unsure how much we can expect from him and Parliament as he does not have much experience and political institutions in general are losing more and more power. It is good that al-Ghawi is from Misrata, the home of fighters and people in power in the Western Libya. He may be able to strike a good balance.’
Fortia went on to appeal for enhanced action from the international community: ‘Libya is left in shamble if the international community does not step in soon. We cannot expect any political solution from the elected governments as they are left weak and powerless. The last six or seven months of violence are enough and should been enough time for the international communities to define who is stopping the dialogue in Libya and who can be part of a peaceful solution. Bernardino Leon, the head of UNSMIL, should be more serious and not delay the dialogue sessions. What Libya needs is economic assistance and a strong central government for the whole of Libya. A new government should be selected not elected by the United Nations so it does not care about personal sentiments such as race or religion. Libya is much more homogenous than places like Iraq and Yemen which should make it easier to establish one government that can represent all.’
This article by Eva Doerr originally appeared as a Next Century Foundation (NCF) blog