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Libya to Discuss New Government Amid Fresh Bani Walid Worries

Libyan lawmakers will today discuss the Cabinet nominees to be presented by Prime Minister-elect Ali Zaidan, whose predecessor twice failed to win parliament’s backing for his proposed government.

The meeting, announced by parliament spokesman Omar Hamaidan in remarks carried on the Libya News Agency, comes as authorities struggle to contain unrest and violence a year after Muammar Qaddafi’s death.

Reflecting the unease in the country, Defense Minister Osama Jweli said late yesterday the government had no control over Bani Walid, a pro-Qaddafi stronghold about 190 kilometers (118 miles) southeast of Tripoli, where thousands of people have been displaced amid heavy fighting.

Jweli said he objected to the use of militias in the operation in Bani Walid to capture those wanted in connection with the death of a former rebel credited with Qaddafi’s capture last year. Militias from the Libya Shield, an umbrella group of government-allied fighters, were involved in the operation.

Jweli said he and troops accompanying him had been denied access to the town on Oct. 28, showing that “the chief of staff of the Libyan army has no control over Libya Shield forces.”

Days earlier, authorities said they had secured control over Bani Walid in an operation that left dozens of troops and fighters dead or wounded.

Zaidan was appointed premier on Oct. 14 by the National Congress. His predecessor, Mustafa Abushagur, held the post for less than a month before he was pushed out by lawmakers who refused to give approval to his proposed Cabinet.

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