One of two boycotting members of the leadership of Libya’s UN-backed government said on Thursday he would resume his role, potentially helping to overcome resistance to its rule and win support for a team of ministers.
The government’s nine-member Presidential Council has struggled to bridge Libya’s geographical divides and factional rivalries as it tries to steer the country into a political transition.
The result of a UN-mediated deal signed in December, the Council arrived in Tripoli, western Libya, three months later where it has gradually moved to install ministers. But it has failed to win backing from power brokers in eastern Libya.
One of council’s boycotting members, Ali Gatrani, is closely associated with eastern factions, while Omar al-Aswad, who announced the suspension of his boycott on Thursday, is from Zintan, a town in western Libya that has been part of the same loose alliance as armed groups from the east.
Aswad’s decision to resume his participation in the Council comes three days after members of the parliament based in eastern Libya voted for a second time to reject the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA).
The Council said in response that it would resubmit a new list of ministers, though it is not clear to what extent it will try to overhaul the GNA’s lineup.
“I am more than willing to join and participate in the formation of the next government with a positive and constructive spirit of compromise,” Aswad said in a news conference in Tunis, adding that he would travel to Tripoli “as soon as possible”.
Aswad has complained that cabinets nominated by the Council in January and February were too large, and that ministers selected according to political allegiances rather than experience and ability.
“In this regard I call on my colleagues in the Presidential Council to avoid mistakes made in the formation the first and second governments, so as to gain confidence from the House of Representatives,” he said, referring to the eastern parliament.
Aswad also called for cabinet posts to represent Libya’s different towns and cities evenly, and for the international community to “redouble its efforts to include the views of all parties”.
Western states have pinned their hopes on the GNA as the best option for tackling the political chaos, security vacuum and economic collapse that have developed since long-time leader Muammar Gaddafi was toppled in an uprising five years ago.