10 Aug 2012

President chosen by new national assembly

1:37 pm on 10 August 2012

The new national assembly in Libya has chosen National Front Party leader Mohammed Magarief as its president.

Mr Magarief, a long-time opponent of the late Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, will head the assembly which is to steer Libya to full parliamentary elections after a new constitution is drafted next year.

The party is an offshoot of the National Front for the Salvation of Libya, an opposition movement to Colonel Gaddafi established in 1981. It won three seats in an election on 7 July.

The national assembly, which has 200 members, took over on Thursday from the outgoing national transitional council.

Mr Magarief won 113 votes versus independent Ali Zidan who secured 85 votes. Voting went to a second round after no one managed to win an outright majority in the first round.

The late-night ceremony was the first peaceful transition of power in Libya's modern history.

Eighty seats in the new assembly are held by parties. A coalition led by wartime rebel prime minister Mahmoud Jibril won 39 of those seats, and the Justice & Construction Party - the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood - won 17.

The remaining 120 seats are held by independent candidates.

Mr Magarief is from Benghazi.