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The BBC's Caroline Hawley reports
"More than three decades after coming to power, Libya's eccentric leader has sprung another surprise"
 real 28k

Thursday, 2 March, 2000, 00:01 GMT
Libyan shake-up boosts people power
Colonel Gaddafi: Unhappy at Libya's reliance on oil revenues
Libya has announced a major re-organisation of its government, which it says will bring it closer to the people.

Most of the central administrative bodies, known as people's committees, are being abolished and their functions transferred to provincial organisations.

The new ministers
Prime Minister: Mubarak al-Shamikh
Deputy Prime Minister: Bashir Bujeneh
Deputy Prime Minister for Services: Baghdadi Mahmudi
Justice and General Security Minister: Mohammad Belgassem Zuai
Foreign Affairs Minister: Abdel Rahman Shalgham
African Unity Minister: Ali Abdel Salam Triki
The departments being closed include the oil ministry, although it is understood Libya's national oil company will still be controlled at a central level.

The ministries of foreign affairs, information, finance, justice, tourism and security will also be controlled centrally.

The prime minister and foreign minister have been replaced, and a new ministry of African unity set up to promote Libyan ties and investment in the continent.

The decision was announced during the annual meeting of the Libyan Parliament, called the General People's Congress (GPC).

The Deputy Speaker of the GPC, Ahmed Ibrahim, described it as a new step in Libya's popular revolution.

Colonel Gaddafi, who took power in 1969, has called the Libyan system of government a "state of the masses". In theory the country is administered not by ministries, but by people's committees. In practice, Colonel Gaddafi has kept tight personal control of the important areas of government.

Libyan officials have said that many of the committees have been under-performing. Their powers will now be devolved, mostly to local councils.

Tearing up the budget

For some time now the Libyan leader has been moving the committees out of the capital, Tripoli, to the town of Surt, closer to his own birth place.

Ministries are moving out of Tripoli
Colonel Gaddafi demonstrated his unhappiness with the government on 28 January when he unexpectedly attended the GPC's opening session and tore up the 2000 draft budget, ordering it to be revised.

BBC Cairo correspondent Caroline Hawley says there are no clear indications of how the new government structure will work, but Colonel Gaddafi was known to be unhappy with the functioning of the economy and its reliance on the oil revenues.

She says observers are suggesting that the Libyan leader may be trying to start a process of privatisation - Libyan style.

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11 Dec 99 |  Middle East
Libya seeks new beginning
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