Libya’s Abushagur Elected as Prime Minister, Beats Former Rebel

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Libyan Deputy Prime Minister Mustafa Abushagur was elected prime minister, edging out wartime rebel premier Mahmoud Jibril.

Abushagur took 96 votes and Jibril won 94 in the country’s interim legislature, Mohammed Magariaf, who leads the 200-seat body, said after the vote in Tripoli yesterday. The new prime minister has as many as 30 days to form a Cabinet.

The election comes after the U.S. ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, and three other Americans were killed in an attack on the consulate in the city of Benghazi, violence that highlights the instability in the north African nation following the overthrow of Muammar Qaddafi. The country needs to address security issues in order to move forward, Abushagur said in an interview on Sept. 11.

On his Twitter account before the vote, Abushagur called the attack on the U.S. consulate “cowardly and criminal.”

Abushagur has pledged to rebuild a nation battered both by the eight-month conflict last year and the after-effects of decades of neglect under Qaddafi.

“The oil industry is essential but Libya needs much more,” Abushagur said in the interview. “We need to build roads, create public transport systems, and review all existing contracts worth $109 billion signed under the Qaddafi regime.”

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