On 31 October, Libya’s General National Congress (GNC) finally approved a new government, headed by PM Ali Zidan. The voting on the cabinet had to be delayed by one day as protesters, including both civilians and former rebel fighters, had stormed the congress building the day before. Meanwhile, violent clashes between rival militias have continued to hit the country, including the capital Tripoli.

Impact on country risk

The approval of the new government represents another important step in the country’s transition. PM Zidan had been more successful in the formation of his cabinet than his predecessor Mustafa Abu Shagour (see Risk Monthly of October). The latter was dismissed earlier in October  for failing to win sufficient support for his proposed cabinet. The difficult government formation and the storming of the congress building show that the cabinet’s geographic and tribal balances and the presence of Qadhafi-era ministers remain highly contentious. The new government is expected to benefit from democratic legitimacy, being backed by 105 out of 132 present GNC members during the vote (there are 200 members in total). However, the restoration of the security situation in the country remains an extremely difficult task. Although it will benefit from the country’s significant income from energy, the government will continue to face the difficult challenge to further hold together and reconstruct the country, while trying to meet the Libyan people’s high expectations after the fall of Qadhafi.

Analyst: The Risk Management Team, r.cecchi@credendogroup.com