Critical Analysis: Libya Elects New Prime Minister

New Prime Minister Ali Zidan (BBC)
New Prime Minister Ali Zidan (BBC)
New Prime Minister Ali Zidan (BBC)

Libya’s 200 member national congress has elected Ali Zidan as its new prime minister.  Zidan, a former Congressman and human rights lawyer, won 93 votes, securing a majority for him from those present and voting.  Zidan, an independent, beat a candidate favored by the Justice and Construction party,a party linked to the Muslim Brotherhood.

The country’s national assembly president announced Zidan’s victory and requested that he propose a cabinet within two weeks.  Libya’s previous Prime Minister elect, Mustafa Abu Shagur, was dismissed after only 25 days in the position because he had failed to form a viable Cabinet list that staffed qualified legislators.  Zidan had unsuccessfully run against Mustafa Abu Shagur in the last election.

Zidan was a career diplomat under Colonel Muammar Gadhafi before he defected in the early 1980s.  He then joined Libya’s oldest opposition movement, National Front for the Salvation of Libya, from Geneva where he was in exile.

He served the former transitional government as its Europe envoy.  He was also seen as a key player in convincing former French President Nicolas Sarkozy to join the uprising against Gaddafi.  BBC’s Rana Jawad, in Tripoli, says the local observers portray him as liberal with a strong personality.

Because security is still not established across the country and western Libya is still seeing outbreaks of renewed violence, this election comes at a crucial time.

 Alexis Kirkman is a 3L and a Candidacy Editor on the Denver Journal of International Law and Policy.