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New Libya premier says he represents all Libyans

May 6, 2014

TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) — The new Libyan prime minister said in a television interview on Tuesday that he does not belong to any party or movement and that he represents all Libyans.

Ahmed Maiteg said he does not believe in party affiliations, and that he disagrees with the “Justice and Construction” party, the Libyan branch of the Muslim Brotherhood group.

“Libya needs an executive more than it needs a politician,” he said in the interview, broadcast on the private, Qatar-based Libya al-Ahrar channel.

While he did not get into the specifics of his security policies, in a televised speech the day before he vowed to empower security institutions so they can bring order to the country, promising also to advance national reconciliation. That speech was the first time Maiteg gave a televised address since being appointed in a vote opposed by parliament’s non-Islamist bloc.

Listing his government’s top priorities, Maiteg said in Monday’s late night speech that security came first.

“Imposing state hegemony, control and sovereignty on the country’s soil and building the security and military institutions,” topped the list, he said, followed by national reconciliation, decentralization and restructuring of public services and the economy.

“We have a government that does not govern, we have an army, but it’s (made up of) militias,” said Ashraf al-Shah, an independent Libyan political analyst who lauded the choice of Maiteg. Choosing a young man, not from the Libyan Diaspora but from inside the country, he said, could help convince other political parties to collaborate.

Originally from the country’s third largest city of Misrata, Maiteg indicated in his speech that he will not give special treatment to his city. “The government will not differentiate but treats equally all sons of the nation and doesn’t differentiate between a region and another, or empower a tribe over the other.”

He also promised to ensure democratic transition and to pave the way for parliamentarian elections, due to take place this year.

Libya has been hit with sporadic violence since the downfall of longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi in an eight-month civil war in 2011. Successive governments have depended on militias to restore law and order, but the armed groups — supported cities, tribes or political factions — have pressured the government and parliament.

The election of Maiteg by members of the General National Council was marred by disputes and accusations of illegal vote counting and a walkout by non-Islamist lawmakers.

The elections followed a caretaker prime minister. Defense Minister al-Thinni declined last month to form a new government. Al-Thinni succeeded former prime minister Ali Zidan who was sacked from his office by parliament earlier this year.

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