Libya's New President is Mohamed el-Magariaf

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Jul 7, 2010
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Yesterday the NTC dissolved and turned over power to the newly elected General National Congress.

Today the assembly elected the founder of the National Front for the Salvation of Libya (which had opposed Gaddafi since the 1980s) Mohamed Yousef el-Magariaf, whose party won three seats.

On 8 May 1984, El-Magariaf led commandos from the National Front for the Salvation of Libya in an attempt to assassinate Muammar Gaddafi, via an attack on Gaddafi's headquarters. The attack failed. 2,000 Libyans were arrested and eight were publicly hanged.
His party campaigned on a liberal and progressive platform and supports women's rights.

A few things strike me as important about this:
  • His support base is in the eastern part of the country, which has been making noise about autonomy. This should give the central government more legitimacy there.
  • His anti-Gaddafi credentials are unimpeachable, which makes him immune to the criticism Islamist parties levied at the National Forces Alliance, the party that won the most seats.
  • He was educated in the UK and during his long exile he was based in the US, so his bona fides shouldn't offend the secularist wing.

He won with 113 votes out of 200.

Ali Zidan led the contest after the first round of voting yesterday evening, having picked up 80 votes to Magarief’s 56.

A further 62 votes went to three other candidates who failed to proceed to the next round of the contest, 53 of them to Union for Homeland leader Abdulrahman Sewehli.

Whilst Zidan picked up just five additional votes in the final round, taking his total to 85, Magarief was able to double his share of the vote to 113.

Key to his success were votes from former Sewehli supporters, with the two men known to have supported one another in the election.
Pre-election article where el-Magariaf talks about running as an exile:

The group’s founder, Mohamed Yousef el-Magariaf lived in Atlanta during most of his time in exile. He is also back in Libya now. He said for three decades, the Front kept drumming the anti-Gaddafi beat — against all odds and naysayers.

“We heard many voices that tried to make us feel that whatever efforts we made have no impact, no results because of the simple fact that Gaddafi was still there,” El-Magariaf said. “But anyhow, we were wise enough to keep calling for (the) Gaddafi regime to be toppled and for the people to revolt against him until the last moment.”

When the uprising broke out in Benghazi in February 2011, members of the front set up a support committee that organized protests in the United States and raised funds to provide medical aid. Shawesh went to Tunisia to help Libyan refugees there. At one point he managed an impromptu visit to Kabao, 31 years after he’d left.

He said he couldn’t recognize his town or his family.

“Those of my age are elders and those youngsters who were not born are now running the show,” he said. “My father, mother, my grandmother all those who loved me, who hugged me when I left, I found them to be in the cemetery ground. I found myself (a) stranger within my family.”

Yet people in Kabao seemed eager to get him involved. After the revolution, friends asked him to run for office. They argued that the transition process needs help from those who’ve lived in democratic countries.

El-Magariaf, himself a candidate in another town, said former exiles have a clear edge in Libya’s new political landscape.

“Candidates are not known. They don’t have any history by which they can judge. It’s all promises,” he said. “So in that regard, where we have advantage, we did what we did for our country, and this is a credibility that we have that very few people do have.”
 
May 6, 2008
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Does he only moderately dislike Jews? That's the test of a true progressive in the region. lol j/k

Good on Libya avoiding the path Egypt is futzing around with and moving forward to a secular democracy...or at the very least not a quasi the same thing just new name as often happens.
 
Oct 6, 2010
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Wait, wait, wait.

You mean to tell me that Libya is now a democratic nation free from the rule of a tyrannical dictator and we didn't have to fight a war for eight years to get it?

Dafaq?
 
May 6, 2008
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Wait, wait, wait.

You mean to tell me that Libya is now a democratic nation free from the rule of a tyrannical dictator and we didn't have to fight a war for eight years to get it?

Dafaq?
Still had to help blow up some shit.

He sounds good, but he could not look more evil in that picture.
I like that quality and besides its really hard to beat Dick Chaneys VP photo so he can't be top.
 
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