Libya’s two rival parliaments began meeting for the first time to discuss a proposed unity government that would lead the war-torn Opec member until elections in December.
Monday’s joint session involving lawmakers from the Tobruk-based parliament, which backed eastern military commander Khalifa Haftar, and the rival assembly headquartered in Tripoli, the capital, is taking place in the central coastal city of Sirte.
It’s the latest test of efforts to unify the North African nation that has been roiled by conflict since a Nato-backed revolt ousted dictator Muammar al-Qaddafi in 2011, eventually leading to the establishment of dueling administrations.
Prime Minister-designate Abdul Hamid Mohammed Dbeibah, who was chosen by delegates to a United Nations-supported forum in Geneva, presented proposals to the head of the eastern-based parliament, Aguila Saleh, last month.
Speaking before the session, Dbeibah urged parliament to “put the interests of the nation ahead” by allowing his proposed government to begin work swiftly. He also warned, in a recorded speech, that failing to approve the new administration in a vote could “obstruct electoral process.”
Dbeibah’s proposal is for a government of 27 ministries, six state ministers and two deputy prime ministers. Five of the portfolios would be held by women, including foreign affairs and international cooperation, culture and justice, according to a list seen by Bloomberg.
The proposal also involves the restoration of an oil and gas ministry to work alongside the National Oil Corp. and be headed by a representative of western Libya. Mohamed Aoun, a former Libyan representative to OPEC, is Dbeibahs’s suggestion for the post, the list shows.
Forming a unified government in the country that’s home to Africa’s largest oil reserves would help stabilize energy production, a key income source that’s been blighted by repeated clashes and closures.