Libya’s ex-oil minister criticizes new leaders

TRIPOLI, Libya — A senior figure in Libya’s outgoing transitional government has blasted the country’s new leadership as an unrepresentative “elite” supported by outside powers.

By (AP)

Published: Fri 25 Nov 2011, 6:49 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 12:25 AM

Outgoing oil and finance minister Ali Tarhouni was one of the most visible and internationally respected faces of the Libyan revolutionary leadership which presided over the ouster of Moammar Gadhafi’s regime.

But in a press conference late Thursday, he said he refused an offer to join Prime Minister Abdurrahim el-Keib’s transitional Cabinet, because he believes that those now in power are not representative and are “supported from the outside by money, arms and PR.”

“The voices that we see now are the voices of the elite,” he said.

The U.S.-educated Tarhouni did not explain further and did not specify which outside powers he meant. He made his comments several hours after el-Keib’s new government was sworn in.

The new Cabinet, a gathering of mostly older men who are relatively unknown, face daunting challenges. They must prepare the country for democratic elections in seven months while establishing control over the fractured nation.

Tarhouni, who managed the then-rebel government’s financial system, is one of the first well-known Libyan politicians to openly question the new government’s ability.

He said that more than 90 percent of Libyans are not represented by the leadership.

“It is about time that we hear the true voices of the masses,” he said.

Tarhouni said he plans to spend the coming months giving lectures and speaking to young Libyans about democracy and the creation of civic institutions. He also said he would be preparing for the upcoming elections, without giving further more details.

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