Libya's Prime Minister Mustafa Abu Shagur on Sunday proposed to the General National Congress a "crisis government" of just 10 ministers, after the GNC rejected outright his first proposed line-up.

"In face of the dangers threatening the country, I present to you a crisis government restricted to 10 ministers, rejecting all geographical considerations," the premier told the 200 members of the country's national assembly.

Abdessalem Jadallah al-Salihin, a colonel under the toppled regime of Moamer Kadhafi who defected and led the rebellion in the east against the late dictator, was put forward as defence minister.

The premier also proposed police general and lawyer Ashur Shwayel for the interior ministry.

The GNC, which late on Thursday rejected Abu Shagur's first proposed line-up, gave him 72 hours to build consensus and deliver an amended cabinet list.

It will now discuss the proposed new cabinet, but if the new list is rejected, Abu Shagur will be relieved of his duties and the GNC will have to elect a new prime minister within the next three to four weeks.

The premier said that in putting forward his new cabinet he was not taking either geographical or political considerations into account, and criticised blocs within the assembly for rejecting his original list of choices.

"The first government was not perfect. And we should have discussed and modified it," he said.

"But the demands of members of the congress were unrealistic, with some demanding a minister for their own region, another political bloc wanting 11 ministers and yet another nine.

"I will not assume responsibility for a team that is not of my own liking," Abu Shagur said, and called on the GNC to "assume its responsibilities at this historic time."

"I will not abandon my principles and my convictions. I did not return to Libya (from many years in exile) to become head of government, I came back to serve the country and its children," he said.


Photo: AFP