Libya's national assembly elects former diplomat as prime minister

TRIPOLI Sun Oct 14, 2012 5:45pm EDT

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TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Libya's national assembly elected a new prime minister on Sunday, the second within a month to face the daunting challenge of forming a government acceptable to the country's many factions.

Ali Zeidan, a former career diplomat who had defected in the 1980s to become an outspoken critic of Muammar Gaddafi, was elected in a televised count just a week after the last prime minister was dismissed in a vote of no confidence.

Mustafa Abushagur was dismissed after his choice of ministers ran into protests both from within the assembly and from outside.

Libya desperately needs a viable government so that it can focus on reconstruction and healing divisions opened up by the war which toppled Gaddafi last year.

Zeidan told a news conference he would focus on restoring security to Libya.

"The security file will be my top most priority because all the problems that Libya suffers from stems from security issues. The government will be an emergency government to solve the crises that the country is going through."

Zeidan, who had support from the leading liberal coalition, the National Forces Alliance, also suggested, however, that he was ready to take into account the views of the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood in his government.

"Islam is our belief system and the source for any jurisprudence, and anything against sharia is refused," he said.

Gaddafi kept Libya broadly secular, but the uprising which toppled him has paved the way for the emergence of both Islamist and more secular factions, as well as opening up tribal and regional divisions in the North African country.

(Reporting by Ali Shuaib; Writing by Myra MacDonald; Editing by Rosalind Russell)

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Comments (1)
What Im wondering: When Bush was president, every major incident like this was met with the question *What did he know and when did he know it?* So why isn’t there more outrage about what Obama knew and when did he know it. We know that Libyan officials warned us, the consulate asked for more security, that it was all organized by terrorists and that is was a coordinated effort across several countries. So again, What did the administration know and when did they know it? And why isn’t the media asking?

Oct 14, 2012 6:18pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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