Libya’s Sarraj Makes Surprise Cabinet Reshuffle
Head of Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA) Fayez al-Sarraj made a surprise cabinet reshuffle on Sunday, replacing the ministers of interior, economy and finance.
He appointed Fathi Ali Bashagha as interior minister, replacing Abdulsalam Ashour. Ali Abdulaziz Issawi was named the new minister of economy and industry, Faraj Bomtari as finance minister and Bashir al-Qantri as youths and sport minister.
Bashagha comes from the western city of Misrata and is close to its armed groups. He is a former member of the Misrata military council and took part in the February 17, 2011 revolt that toppled long-time ruler Moammar al-Gaddafi.
Prior to his appointment, Ashour had paid a surprise visit to the central security administration in Tripoli to oversee the implementation of a security plan in the capital.
Tripoli had witnessed weeks of clashes between rival militias.
The reshuffle was announced as the security plan was being implemented.
It calls for replacing the militias with official security forces, which will be tasked with overseeing state institutions in Tripoli. The militias were originally responsible for the security at these facilities.
Issawi, who comes from Benghazi in eastern Libya, is a veteran figure from the forces who toppled Gaddafi.
Sarraj’s spokesman Mohammed al-Salak told Reuters in a brief phone message that 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 the new ministers to implement the new security arrangements in Tripoli, to move forward with economic reforms and to seek the unification of Libyan national institutions.”
The fighting in Tripoli erupted in August and has left 117 people dead and 581 wounded.